The controversy surrounding Google’s new AI chatbot
Soon after Microsoft announced it was investing $10billion $10billion into ChatGPT parent company OpenAI, Google said they were entering the fray with its own AI app. Bard, powered by LaMDA technology, has now launched to ‘external testers’ and is expected to go live within weeks. This comes as the battle to dominate the AI space heats up.
The two Big Tech giants are already locking horns in a race to the top of the AI mountain; with no signs of slowing. However, Google were dealt a cruel blow to their hopes for a smooth launch of their new system with a somewhat embarrassing slip-up. But how have people reacted to this and how has the tech giant responded? Here’s everything you need to know about Google’s venture into the AI landscape so far.
What exactly are ChatGPT and Bard, and why are companies like Microsoft and Google so keen to develop them?
The answer is that they’re chatbots; artificially intelligent computer programs designed to simulate conversation with human users, particularly over the internet. Simply put, the tools can create human-like text or images and videos generated by AI. The tools have been all everyone has been talking about in business and tech across the world. No AI app has managed to achieve the kind of influence and popularity ChatGPT has to date.
Within the first two months of its launch, it had amassed over 100 million, monthly active users. For context, it took TikTok nine months to reach the same landmark and Instagram two and a half years. ChatGPT has the potential to up-end the search engine world order; so it doesn’t take much to realize why Google wants a piece of the AI chatbot pie. Microsoft is investing billions into OpenAI to try and swallow up as much of the market as they can; and Google is now playing catchup, albeit they have the resources to play that game. However, there is a lot of concern over how technology may be abused. AI is becoming prevalent across a range of industries, and chatBots are becoming essential for copywriters and tech companies. We are even seeing them being used at various PayPal casinos.
So what’s happened since Google’s launch of Bard?
The A.I. war has gone from zero to 100 in the course of a week. Microsoft has integrated an upgraded version of ChatGPT into its search engine Bing and Edge browser. And Google’s new ChatGPT competitor Bard caused a stir, setting up a battle between powerhouse Google search and second-place Bing. Chasing the same goal as Microsoft, Google played their hand; believing Bard will change the way people search the web; as it can offer more detailed and conversational responses to queries rather than just a list of websites and links. Then came the blunder.
They released a promotional tweet asking its own chatbot a series of questions, which to the company’s dismay, caused an extremely expensive hiccup.
When experts pointed out the error, Google said it underlined the need for “rigorous testing” on the chatbot before it’s rolled out. It was awkward enough that the gaffe took place just hours after Google executives hosted an event in Paris that revealed more plans to expand the role of AI in its products; but it also fed into growing fears that the search engine company is losing ground in its key area to Microsoft and; more worryingly than that, it had a disastrous impact on their share price.
Google is making its move in the AI world amidst a backdrop of disappointing quarterly results; much like the rest of the tech sector. Its Q4 earnings showed a decline in revenue and slow growth forecasts. It was vital that Google got this right and initially the results were positive. The announcement of Bard actually saw their stock price pick up slightly. So imagine the dismay in the Google offices when their mistake on that promotional tweet undid all their good work; and saw Google’s parent company market value drop around $100billion.
For the first time in years, we’re seeing the potential for a power shift in the massive global search market. Of course, there’s still a long way to go and plenty of unexpected challenges for both companies with plenty of scope for Google to recover from the bleak situation they find themselves in. Given their status as the world’s most used search engine, their reputation is built on providing people with correct answers. And although ChatGPT has attracted millions of users in such a short time since its release late last year; it still makes mistakes.
On top of that, Microsoft’s Bing has a smaller audience to be tested and perfected upon meaning the solutions might take longer to come by. The bottom line is there are still kinks to iron out and this is still only the beginning of the tech giants’ venture into widely-accessible AI. Google and Microsoft, nonetheless, are here for the long run; and believe AI will continue to advance in leaps and bounds from here onwards, even if there is the odd stumble.