It hasn’t been a great week for Google. Not only did the company’s error-laden “Live from Paris” event fail to live up to expectations, but its highly anticipated new AI chatbot tool, Bard, made a factual error in a demo video (opens in a new tab) which aimed to show off the awesome capabilities of the software.
The blunder – that knocked Google’s market value down $100 billion (opens in a new tab) – saw Bard respond incorrectly to a user who asked, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about? In the clip, the chatbot responds with a series of bullet points, including one that reads, “JWST has taken the first-ever photos of a planet outside our own solar system.”
NASA, however, claims that the first image of such a planet, called an exoplanet, was captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in 2004. In other words, Bard got the query wrong, raising concerns about the future integration of the software into Google. Research.
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our great language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8lFebruary 6, 2023
In essence, Bard is Google’s answer to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT – an “experimental conversational AI service” that promises to be able to answer complex questions in an informal style. The software is powered by LaMDA (short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications), which, like ChatGPT, allows Bard to understand human language as it is written.
But where Microsoft seems to be pushing ahead with its redesigned, AI-powered Bing search engine, Google isn’t so rushed with its large-scale integration of Bard into Google Search — and for good reason.
In response to Bard’s very public blunder, Google issued the following statement to CNN (opens in a new tab): “This [error] highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something we’re launching this week with our Trusted Tester program. We will combine external feedback with our own internal testing to ensure that Bard’s responses achieve a high level of quality, security, and grounding in real-world information.
So it’s clear that Google is downplaying the actual viability of AI-powered search engines for now. The company still describes Bard as an “experimental” service, and the disclaimer under the program’s search box (see below) suggests that it “may give inaccurate or inappropriate information”, as it did in the case of the aforementioned James Webb Space Telescope. to question.
Analysis: is Microsoft taking the plunge?
Microsoft, on the other hand, is ratcheting up the heat on Google by releasing its AI-powered Bing to the masses — here’s how to use the new ChatGPT-powered Bing search engine, if you’re interested — when the program might not not yet be ready for real-world use.
But Google has more to lose than Microsoft in this battle against AI. On average, Google hosts nearly 90% of global search queries, while Bing answers just under 10%. Microsoft is clearly hoping that its rapid integration of ChatGPT into Bing will boost that market share figure before Google has a chance to respond with the large-scale rollout of its own Bard program.
Google, however, is clearly reluctant to pull the trigger on Bard if the integrity of the software isn’t watertight – an error-prone Bard would compromise the integrity of Google Search as a whole.
We’ll be reporting on all the latest developments in the ongoing fight between Google and Microsoft in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to TechRadar for more.
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