Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) has announced the launch of its own AI content generator called Bard that could rival ChatGPT, which now has over 100 million users and received an investment of $10 billion (£ 8.3 billion) from Microsoft (MSFT).
Since Microsoft’s investment in ChatGPT, reports have surfaced that the artificial intelligence tool could be used to create a new version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine that could threaten Google’s search dominance.
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Google has said the new AI tool will soon be available to “trusted users” ahead of a broader public rollout in the coming weeks. In a blog post, he announced that the artificial AI features made available by the Bard chatbot “will start rolling out to Google Search soon.”
This would affect the way Google responds to search queries. In the future, instead of providing a series of links in response to your query, you would provide a paragraph of text that the AI has composed after digesting those links.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai explained plans to provide chatbot-based artificial intelligence capabilities for both its search engine and the development of other Google apps.
What is Bard?
Bard is Alphabet’s version of the artificial intelligence content generation tool ChatGPT, and has been hailed by the company’s CEO as “an outlet for creativity and a launching pad for curiosity.”
It’s been in development by Google Research for many months, but the company only announced its existence less than two weeks after Microsoft revealed its multi-billion dollar investment in ChatGPT parent OpenAI.
Google’s Bard and its rival ChatGPT are known as AI chatbots, or generative AI applications. They are trained on vast amounts of text data already available online.
These AI tools generate text-based responses to user prompts. Examples of user messages can be as simple as “what is the highest mountain in the world” or as complex as “write a book detailing the fundamentals of quantum mechanics”.
They can have human-like conversations with users, and through a question (prompt) and answer process, a wide range of written content can be produced in seconds. In addition to text responses, both Bard and OpenAI offer multimedia information, including images, videos, and audio.
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Commenting on the new chatbot’s capabilities, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said: “Bard can be an outlet for creativity and a launching pad for curiosity, helping you explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. to a nine-year-old, or learn more about the best forwards in soccer right now, and then get exercises to develop your skills.”
He added: “It’s a really exciting time to be working on these technologies as we translate deep research and breakthroughs into products that actually help people.
“That’s the journey we’ve been on with great language models.”
Chatbots have the potential to transform the way people prepare for job interviews, create academic papers, write social media posts, produce poems in the style of Shakespeare or TS Elliot, and even help journalists write articles like this.
How is Bard different from ChatGPT?
Currently, the large data store that ChatGPT relies on to mimic human-like linguistic responses is out of date, and nothing after 2021 is included. This means that ChatGPT does not provide the most up-to-date information based on recent searches. In Internet.
By contrast, Bard benefits from Google’s broad reach, access to information, and a broader range of media offerings.
Although Microsoft intends to integrate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, Bing’s market share is low, accounting for only less than 10% of online searches.
Compare this to Google’s dominant 80% market share, and if both chatbots are evolving based on user questions, Google’s offering could outperform its rival.
To put this in perspective, ChatGPT has 100 million users, but if Google incorporates its chatbot into Google’s dominant search engine, it could immediately add approximately 1 billion daily active users.
Bard uses a smaller version of Google’s LaMDA AI model. LaMDA stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications and is specifically trained to hold human-like conversations. LaMDA is a large neural network that mimics the way human neurons work in the brain, making its language process appear human and natural.
ChatGPT uses the GPT-3.5 model at the moment, but Microsoft plans to use GPT-4 to incorporate it into its Bing search engine, which may bring it closer to its rival in terms of how recent the data it uses is, and its overall quality.
Will Bard be added to Google Search?
The Google Bard AI chatbot is expected to be integrated into Google Search once it is made available to the general public.
Users will be able to access it by asking questions via the search bar, with the chatbot pulling information from the web to offer current answers to text queries.
Google’s Sundar Pichai explained that Bard will be able to harness “information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality answers” and improve our understanding of information provided via Internet search engines.
Adding that the use of AI-assisted Internet search engines will allow information to become knowledge that is tailored to each user. Pichai explained that Bard’s AI content generator will allow users to quickly grasp key concepts and expand their knowledge by accessing additional insights when using Google search.
In his blog post, he added: “Artificial intelligence will make it easier for people to get to the heart of what they’re looking for and get things done.
“When people think of Google, they often think of turning to us for quick factual answers, like “how many keys does a piano have?” But more and more, people are turning to Google for deeper information and understanding, like “Is it easier to learn to play the piano or the guitar and how much practice does each need?”
“Learning about a topic like this can take a lot of effort to figure out what you really need to know, and people often want to explore a wide range of opinions or perspectives.”
Can anyone use Google’s Bard chatbot?
Google said it would give “trusted testers” first access to Bard and make it available to the general public “in the coming weeks.” However, the exact release date of the Google Bard AI chatbot has not yet been confirmed, and there is currently no website that can be accessed to sign up to use the new AI generative tool.
Explaining how Bard would be implemented for users, Pichai wrote: “We will initially launch it with our lightweight model version of LaMDA.
“This much smaller model requires significantly less computing power, allowing us to scale to more users, leading to more feedback.
“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.
“We are excited about this testing phase which will help us continue to learn and improve the quality and speed of Bard.”
Who else is in the race?
Meta (META), the owner of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, introduced its own chatbot, called Galactica, ahead of the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022.
Like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Galactica gave answers that were riddled with factual errors. Unlike OpenAI, however, Meta received a flood of complaints about Galactica’s bugs. After just three days, the company, which has faced criticism for its role in promoting disinformation and hate speech through its social media apps, pulled the plug on Galactica.
At a recent gathering of Silicon Valley leaders and thinkers called the Collective[i] Forecast, Meta’s chief AI scientist Yann LeCun stated, “The creators of the Galactica demo had to remove it due to the overwhelming criticism they received.”
LeCun added that Meta also released a chatbot in early 2022 called BlenderBot, which he says pushed the limits of generative AI. However, he noted that he failed to gain popularity because the company took steps to prevent him from generating inappropriate content.
A Chinese version of ChatGPT will be incorporated into the nation’s official Baidu search engine in March.
The tool has yet to receive a name, but it is expected to comply with online restrictions imposed by Beijing.
Baidu has invested heavily in AI research and the new service will be based on its Ernie AI system, which is a massive language model trained on data over several years.
The speed of development of AI applications
Big tech is getting serious about generative AI after ChatGPT and now Google’s Bard threatens to disrupt the internet as we know it.
Speaking about the astonishing speed of AI development, Pichai said that the scale of AI calculations is now doubling every six months, and at such a speed, it is far exceeding Moore’s Law.
Moore’s Law is a prediction made by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, in 1965 that the number of transistors on a microchip would double approximately every two years, leading to a corresponding increase in computing power and a decrease in the cost per transistor.
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