Google was once famed for its do-good motto “Don’t be evil”, which was enshrined in its code of conduct. It quietly changed the motto in 2015 when it was restructured as a conglomerate called Alphabet, and the maxim was quietly dropped from the preface to its code of conduct.

Clearly, the company was preparing for the era of generative artificial intelligence (AI), ushered in a year ago by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and variously heralded as both the saviour and destroyer of humanity. The problem for Google is that it has played second fiddle to OpenAI and Microsoft in a field it has long sought to lead. No-one sees Google as the epitome of AI evil — which is where one should want to be positioned as an AI market leader...

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