Alphabet Inc’s shares dip after Google AI chatbot ‘Bard’ flubs answer in new ad: Here’s what happened

Alphabet Inc’s Google has decided to step in with its own chatbot named ‘Bard’ after its rival Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its AI chatbot, ChatGPT, have garnered significant attention since its launch back in November. However, Bard is still in the testing phase now but the tech giant has since confirmed that it will start public testing soon. The announcement was made in a blog post by Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai also spoke about how the AI-based features will also be integrated into Google search as well. 

Based on Google’s Language Model for Dialogue Application or LaMDA, it is soon going to be the tech giant’s AI chatbot. Pichai, in the blog post, has described Bard as an “experimental conversational AI service,” which will be opened “to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.” 

It added, “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.” However, you might not be able to sign up for it just yet as it is not publicly available. 

One of the examples given in the announcement blog post of what Bard could do, Pichai wrote, that the AI chatbot “can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.”

Furthermore, Google has also said that it is producing a “lightweight model version of LaMDA” which would require “significantly less computing power, enabling us to scale to more users, allowing for more feedback.” 

Is it different from ChatGPT?

Fundamentally, no, since both allow users to ask questions, request something or give a prompt based on which the AI would generate a human-like response. Additionally, both Microsoft and Google plan on integrating this as a part of their search engines, Bing and Google search, respectively, which as per reports account for a big chunk of their revenue. 

While it is known that ChatGPT’s knowledge is limited to the events till 2021, Google has remained vague about the knowledge Bard would possess, however, reports suggest that since the latter will draw information from the internet it will have more access to data than the former. Notably, Bard will be built on Transformer technology which is at the core of ChatGPT but the technology was pioneered by Google and made open-source in 2017. 

How did Bard lead a dip in Google’s shares?

On Wednesday (February 8), shares of Google’s parent company plunged by at least eight per cent and it lost more than $100 billion in market value. This comes after the Bard chatbot showed an inaccurate answer. First pointed out by Reuters, there was an error in the clip posted by Google which introduced Bard, on Monday. 

The inaccuracy was also pointed out right before the tech giant’s AI event in Paris, France where more details about the chatbot were expected. In the advertisement in question, Brad was given a prompt which asked, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year-old about?” 

In turn, the chatbot responded with a number of answers, one of which included that JWST was used to take the very first pictures of “exoplanets” or the planets outside Earth’s solar system. However, this is inaccurate as the first pictures of exoplanets were taken by European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2004, said Reuters citing NASA confirmation. 

Subsequently, a Google spokesperson told the news agency, “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program. We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.” 

Notably, the error was found hours before the tech giant’s launch of the AI chatbot in Paris where the Senior Vice President of Google, Prabhakar Raghavan, addressing the audience said that Bard would make interaction with information “entirely” different and new. 

(With inputs from agencies) 


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