Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has seen its stock price crash this week following a disappointing launch of its new artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard. Concerns were raised that the artificial intelligence was giving inaccurate responses.
This week, Google announced its AI chatbot Bard, a piece of technology intended to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT. However, the bot is off to a rocky start, with experts noting that Bard made a factual error in its very first demo.
A GIF shared by Google on its official Twitter account shows Bard answering the question: “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about?” Bard offers three bullet points in return, including one that states that the telescope “took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system.”
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l
— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023
In the GIF, BARD responded with a number of answers, including one that implied the JWST was used to take the very first pictures of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system, or exoplanets. Several astronomers on Twitter were quick to call out the AI’s response, stating that it was factually incorrect.
Bruce Macintosh, director of the University of California Observatories at UC Santa Cruz, commented “Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?”
Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?
— Bruce Macintosh (@bmac_astro) February 8, 2023
Astrophysicist Grant Tremblay also Tweeted, “Not to be a ~well, actually~ jerk, and I’m sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take “the very first image of a planet outside our solar system”. the first image was instead done by Chauvin et al. (2004) with the VLT/NACO using adaptive optics.”
Not to be a ~well, actually~ jerk, and I'm sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take "the very first image of a planet outside our solar system".
— Grant Tremblay (@astrogrant) February 7, 2023
Tremblay continued, “I do love and appreciate that one of the most powerful companies on the planet is using a JWST search to advertise their LLM. Awesome! But ChatGPT etc., while spooky impressive, are often *very confidently* wrong. Will be interesting to see a future where LLMs self error check.”
A spokesperson for Google, Jane Park, told The Verge, “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program. We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.”
CEO Sundar Pichai said discussing the potential of AI, “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner.”
In response to Bard’s potential for error. Google stated, “we’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.”
The issue with Bard wiped out nearly $110 billion from Alpahbet’s market capitalization this week.
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