"Bard", the new competition for ChatGPT 1:06
Google's much-hyped new AI chatbot tool Bard, which has yet to be released to the public, is already coming under fire for giving an inaccurate answer during a demo this week.
In the demo, which was posted by Google on Twitter, a user asks Bard, "What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old son?"
Bard responded with a series of bullet points, including one that reads, "JWST took the first pictures of a planet outside our own solar system."
However, according to NASA, the first image showing an exoplanet – or any planet beyond our solar system – was taken by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope nearly two decades ago, in 2004.
Bard's mistake highlights the challenge for Google in its race to integrate the same artificial intelligence technology that underpins the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT into its core search engine.
By trying to keep up with what some think could be a sea change driven by conversational AI, Google is now risking upending its search engine's reputation for displaying reliable information.
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Like ChatGPT, Bard relies on a large language model, which is trained on vast amounts of online data to generate compelling responses to user requests.
Experts have long warned that these tools have the potential to spread inaccurate information.
In an apparent attempt to address that concern, Google previously said that Bard would first open up to "trusted testers" this week, with plans to make it available to the public in the coming weeks.
"This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something we're kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program," a Google spokesperson told CNN in a statement Wednesday about the factual error.
"We will combine external feedback with our own internal testing to ensure that Bard's responses meet a high level of quality, safety, and robustness to real-world data."
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Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell as much as 8% in midday trading on Wednesday after Reuters first reported on Bard's inaccurate response.
Google introduced Bard earlier this week as part of an apparent bid to compete with the viral success of ChatGPT, which has been used to generate essays, song lyrics and answers to questions one might have previously Googled.
According to reports, the meteoric rise in popularity of ChatGPT has led Google's management to declare a "code red" status for its search product.
On Wednesday, Google held an event at its Paris office where the tech giant detailed plans to use artificial intelligence technology to radically change the way people search for information online.
Google's event came a day after rival Microsoft announced a revamped version of Bing powered by a more advanced version of the AI used by ChatGPT.
(Microsoft is investing billions in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.)
In Wednesday's presentation, a Google executive teased plans to use this technology to deliver more complex and conversational answers to queries, including providing bullet points marking the best times of the year to view various constellations and also offering benefits. and disadvantages to buy an electric vehicle.
The executive said artificial intelligence technology would pave the way for the "next frontier of our information products."