On Wednesday, Alphabet’s shares suffered a massive eight percent drop after an error made by the new AI chatbot “Bard” caused a loss of $100 billion in market value. The search engine giant, Google, had recently unveiled a suite of AI-powered features, including the chatbot “Bard”, which aims to answer user queries. However, a mistake in one of the advertisements for the technology caused the share price to plummet.
The AI chatbot market has been heating up, with ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, gaining popularity for its ability to generate essays, speeches, and even exams in a matter of seconds. This prompted Google to quickly announce its own AI chatbot, “Bard”, and Microsoft to announce a multi-billion-dollar partnership with OpenAI and the unveiling of new AI-powered products.
Twitter users quickly noticed the error in one of Bard’s advertisements, where it incorrectly stated that the James Webb Space Telescope was the first to take pictures of a planet outside of Earth’s solar system. The actual honour belongs to the European Very Large Telescope. This misstep, along with underwhelming announcements, caused the share price to decrease by more than seven percent on Wednesday.
Google Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan stated that Bard was being tested by trusted testers, but did not give a timeline for its public release, which is expected to be within the next few weeks. Despite claims that Google rushed its announcement due to pressure from Microsoft, Raghavan denies this and claims that it has been a multi-year journey for the company.
Read Up: Complete Review of ChatGPT
Google also announced AI improvements for products such as maps, translation, and its image recognition tool, Lens. Meanwhile, Microsoft has stated that it will incorporate AI into its Office suite and Teams messaging app, putting it in direct competition with Google.
AI chatbots like ChatGPT hold the potential to change the way users search for information by providing ready-made answers from multiple sources, instead of the traditional list of links and ads that Google has relied on for two decades. The overnight success of ChatGPT was deemed a “code red” threat by Google, which led to the return of co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to brainstorm and come up with a response. The pressure to act was heightened last week when Alphabet, Google’s parent company, posted disappointing results and announced 12,000 layoffs.
Why Google’s Bard gave an incorrect answer
Experts suggest that the chatbot in the Bard demo gave an inaccurate answer because the datasets used to train AI models, including the one used for the demo, often contain errors or biases that the chatbot can replicate.
The AI model creates a statistical probability of the words and sentences that would follow the previous text, without any sense of what is true or false, which can result in incorrect responses.
This is a challenge that has not been fully resolved, according to Dr. Andrew Rogoyski from the University of Surrey’s Institute for People-Centred AI. Users of ChatGPT have also experienced incorrect answers.
Can chatbots and AI-powered search be considered overhyped?
Although AI has been deployed by tech firms like Google and Microsoft, and there is a significant public appetite for generative AI like ChatGPT, there are doubts about the feasibility of operating these products on a global scale for all users due to the high computing power required.
Dr. Rogoyski said, “Big AI really isn’t sustainable. Generative AI and large language models are doing some extraordinary things but they’re still not remotely intelligent – they don’t understand the outputs they’re producing and they’re not additive, in terms of insight or ideas. In truth, this is a bit of a battle among the brands, using the current interest in generative AI to redraw the lines.”
This battle among the brands is using the current interest in generative AI to redraw the lines, but Google and Microsoft believe AI will continue to advance in leaps and bounds.