Meet Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT

12 months ago
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Google is not about let Microsoft or anyone else take the search crown without a fight. Today, the company announced that it will be releasing a chatbot named Bard “in the coming weeks.” The launch appears to be a response to ChatGPT, the sensationally popular AI chatbot developed by startup OpenAI with funding from Microsoft.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google wrote in the blog that Bard is already available to “trusted testers” and is designed to hide the “breadth of the world’s knowledge” behind a conversational interface. It uses a scaled-down version of a powerful artificial intelligence model called LaMDA, which was first announced by Google in May 2021 and is based on technology similar to ChatGPT. Google says this will allow the chatbot to be offered to more users and collect feedback to help address issues related to the quality and accuracy of chatbot responses.

Google and OpenAI are building their bots on text generation software that, while eloquent, is prone to fabrication and can reproduce obnoxious speech styles picked up on the web. The need to mitigate these shortcomings and the fact that this type of software cannot be easily updated with new information calls into question the hopes for creating powerful and profitable new products based on this technology, including the suggestion that chatbots can reinvent the web. -search. .

Notably, Pichai hasn’t announced plans to integrate Bard into the search box that powers Google’s profits. Instead, he demonstrated a new and cautious use of underlying AI technology to improve conventional search. For questions that don’t have a single, agreed-upon answer, Google synthesizes answers that reflect different opinions.

For example, the query “Which is easier to learn to play the piano or the guitar?” will be met with the words: “Some say that playing the piano is easier, since the movements of the fingers and hands are more natural … Others say that the guitar is easier to learn chords.” Pichai also said that Google plans to make the underlying technology available to developers via an API, much like OpenAI does with ChatGPT, but did not provide a timetable.

The heady excitement sparked by ChatGPT has led to speculation that Google is facing a major web search dominance problem for the first time in years. Microsoft, which recently invested about $10 billion in OpenAI, will host a media event tomorrow to celebrate its work with the creator of ChatGPT, which is believed to be related to the new features of the company’s number two search engine, Bing. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman tweeted photo himself with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shortly after Google’s announcement.

Launched by OpenAI last November, ChatGPT has become an internet sensation. Its ability to answer complex questions with apparent consistency and clarity makes many users dream of a revolution in education, business, and everyday life. But some AI experts advise caution, noting that the tool does not understand the information it provides and is inherently prone to making things up.

The situation may be especially frustrating for some Google AI experts because the company’s researchers have developed some of the technology behind ChatGPT, a fact that Pichai refers to on his Google blog. “Six years ago we refocused the company on AI,” Pichai wrote. “Since then, we have continued to invest in AI across the board.” He reviewed both Google’s artificial intelligence research arm and work at DeepMind, a British AI startup that Google acquired in 2014.

ChatGPT is built on top of GPT, an artificial intelligence model known as a transformer first invented by Google that takes a string of text and predicts what will happen next. OpenAI has gained notoriety for publicly demonstrating how inputting huge amounts of data into transformer models and increasing the power of the computer they run on can create systems capable of generating language or images. ChatGPT enhances GPT by having people provide feedback on different responses to another AI model that fine-tunes the output.

Google, by its own admission, has chosen to tread lightly when it comes to adding the technology behind LaMDA to products. In addition to hallucinating misinformation, AI models trained on text pulled from the Internet tend to display racial and gender bias and repeat hate speech.

These limitations were highlighted by Google researchers in a 2020 draft research paper arguing for caution with text generation technology, which annoyed some executives and led the company to fire two prominent AI ethical researchers, Timnit Gebra and Margaret Mitchell.

Other Google researchers who worked on the technology behind LaMDA were frustrated by Google’s hesitation and left the company to build startups using the same technology. The advent of ChatGPT appears to have inspired the company to accelerate its timetable for introducing text generation capabilities into its products.

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