In a tweet posted on Monday, February 6, Google CEO Sandar Pichai introduced Bard, an artificial intelligence tool in response to ChatGPT. But because of an error in the video presentation, Google’s stock price dropped and the search giant lost $100 billion.
Bard’s presentation to the world
This tweet was intended to show a glimpse of the capabilities that Bard would have. In the video presentation, Pichai asked Bard to list some of the discoveries made by the James Webb Space Telescope.
As part of its response, the chatbot said that this telescope captured the first images of an exoplanet. However, that part of the answer is wrong. In fact, the first exoplanet was photographed in 2004 by astronomers operating the Very Large Telescope, located in northern Chile.
Chris Anderson, an astronomer and lecturer at Newcastle University, replied with a tweet pointing out the factual error Bard made. Anderson said
Why didn’t you confirm the data in this example before sharing it? If you use Google to look things up, you’ll see that Bard made a mistake. Try googling “When was the first direct image of an exoplanet made?”
The publication and dissemination of this error led to a small drop in the value of Google’s shares, which fell from $106 to a value of $99.37. Although it is a mere 8% of each share price, this drop translated into a $100 billion loss for the tech giant.
On the other hand, at the February 8 conference held by Google in Paris, Google Arts&Culture, Lens and Maps were discussed, but nothing relevant was said about Google’s new artificial intelligence.
Bard as a competitor to ChatGPT
Bard will use a smaller version of a powerful language model called LaMDA. In May 2021 Google had announced that it was working on LaMDA, which after all is a similar technology that powers ChatGPT.
ChatGPT is a chatbot developed by OpenAI, a company in which Microsoft has invested $3 billion so far. This tool has generated great enthusiasm around this technology that has been mobilizing the industry. For this reason, Microsoft has already announced that it will invest an additional $10 billion in the company.
At this point, Google is going to face the challenge of having its first serious competitor in years. At a recent event, Microsoft showed how ChatGPT’s new features will enrich Bing, the company’s search engine.
How these technologies work
Google and OpenAI have developed software called a language model. From the input text given by the user and the texts with which the model was trained, this program predicts which word or phrase is most likely to follow the user’s input and adds it to the text. In this way, the software is able to produce texts.
However, the content with which these language models have been trained comes from the Internet. Consequently, the software will replicate any bias or content errors that are present in the texts it was trained on.