The AI chatbot Bard from Google has begun to roll out, but only to a select group of users who must be at least 18.
Unlike its viral rival ChatGPT, it has a “Google it” button that accesses search and can access current information from the internet.
Additionally, it cites Wikipedia and other fact-checking websites.
Google, however, forewarned that Bard would have “limitations” and that it might disseminate false information and exhibit bias.
This is because it “learns” from information that comes from the real world, where those biases are still present. As a result, it is possible for stereotypes and false information to appear in its responses.
How do chatbots function?
AI chatbots are designed to respond to questions online in a conversational, human-like manner.
They are capable of writing anything, including marketing copy, computer code, speeches, and student essays.
According to OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, it had more than one million users within a week of its November 2022 launch.
Microsoft has made significant investments in it and last month added the product to its Bing search engine.
It has also made plans to integrate the technology into its office suite of programs, which includes Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
With its version, Bard, which initially debuts in the US and UK, Google has been a slower and more cautious runner in the generative AI race. To use it, users must first sign up.
Bard is a descendant of Google’s earlier Lamda language model, which was never fully made available to the general public. When 1 of the engineers who worked on it asserted that its responses were so convincing that he believed it to be sentient, it did, however, garner a lot of attention. He was let go after Google rejected the accusations.
According to Google Senior Product Director Jack Krawczyk, Bard is “an experiment,” and he expects users would utilize it as a “launchpad for innovation.” He made this statement to the BBC.
He gave me an example of how Bard had aided him in organizing the birthday party for his little child.
It came up with a theme that took into account his child’s interest in gymnastics and bunny rabbits, located the address of a place he mentioned and offered suggestions for party activities and food.
The hero of [media] coverage is AI, according to Mr. Krawczyk. “I believe that the human being is the protagonist, and that vast language models are here to foster innovation.”
Bard has access to up-to-date information, but ChatGPT’s knowledge base only goes as far as 2021 and cannot, for example, respond to queries concerning the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. It clarified a recent news item regarding TikTok being prohibited on UK government phones that appeared on the BBC website.
It includes filters to stop it from sharing damaging, unlawful, sexually explicit, or personally identifying information, and it is trained not to respond to offensive suggestions, but “like any approach these guardrails may occasionally fail,” said Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google Research.
The “move fast and shatter things” attitude of the early days of big tech is as far away from this product launch as it is possible to get, so make no mistake about that.
Mr. Krawczyk paused before responding that the firm’s approach to the launch of Bard was “deliberate” when I questioned if the company was anxious.
Google has every right to be concerned.
Despite the excitement surrounding this type of technology, there are also horror stories about some of the more disturbing things that ChatGPT has been forced to do. Additionally, there are worries that these potent tools, which are still in their infancy, may ultimately pose a serious threat to a wide variety of jobs.
There is also the belief that chatbots may eventually completely replace the lucrative internet search industry, which is very pertinent to Google. Why slog through pages of links from search results when you can just get one well-written response? Google can’t afford to withdraw from the competition.
Mr. Krawczyk and Mr. Ghahramani spoke extensively about the obligations and values that come with technology. They even informed me about Bard’s enormous data centers and how they want to power them with renewable energy.
When I questioned whether kids would start using Bard to do their homework instead of ChatGPT, they admitted that Google was only allowing access to those who were over 18. While some instructors have embraced chatbots, teachers have cautioned students against using them to complete their homework for them.
Google claims that it will closely watch Bard to ensure that it abides by its own “AI standards,” which prohibit the development or reinforcement of bias.
Like ChatGPT, it will be able to imitate other writers’ writing styles, but it will be unable to express opinions or adopt a persona.
According to the company’s Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins, who also contributed to the blog post on the launch, it helped Google craft its own announcement.
“It didn’t always make the proper decisions. Even so, it made us smile “they claimed.