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Google's Bard AI bot mistake wipes $100bn off shares


 |  Kathmandu

File: photo

In the competition for the greatest artificial intelligence technology, Google is looking for ways to persuade the public that it remains in the lead. 

And the internet behemoth appears to be providing the incorrect solution thus far. 

In an advertisement intended to showcase its new AI bot, it was seen responding to a question inaccurately. 

On Wednesday, Alphabet's parent company's shares fell more than 7%, reducing the company's market worth by $100 billion (£82 billion).

The bot Bard was asked in a Twitter promotion about what to say to a nine-year-old about discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope. Bard was unveiled on Monday. 

It responded that the telescope was the first to capture images of a planet outside of our solar system, but the European Very Large Telescope actually achieved that feat in 2004. Astronomers soon caught this error on Twitter.

"Why didn't you factcheck this example before sharing it?" Chris Harrison, a fellow at Newcastle University, replied to the tweet. 

The company's presentation to investors about its plans to integrate artificial intelligence into its products left investors unimpressed. 

Since the release of new ChatGPT software by Microsoft-backed OpenAI in late 2017, Google has been under criticism. It immediately went viral for its aptitude for acing business school exams, writing song songs, and responding to other inquiries. 

This week, Microsoft said that an updated version of its Bing search engine, which has lagged behind Google for years, would make even more sophisticated use of the ChatGPT technology.

Although investors have supported the development of artificial intelligence, critics have cautioned that releasing the technology too quickly increases the possibility of mistakes or other biased findings, as well as problems with plagiarism.

A Google spokesperson said the error highlighted "the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we're kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester programme".

"We'll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard's responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and roundedness in real-world information," they said.

Last month, Google's parent company Alphabet cut 12,000 jobs - about 6% of its workforce worldwide - amid layoffs at a number of leading tech giants.



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