Alphabet, the parent company of Google (GOOGL) announced the launch of its own AI content generator called Bard which could Rival ChatGPTwhich now has over 100m users and has benefited from a $10bn (£8.3bn) investment from Microsoft (MSFT).
Since Microsoft’s investment in ChatGPT, reports have surfaced that the AI tool could be used to create a new version of Microsoft’s Bing search engine that could threaten Google’s search dominance.
Learn more: Microsoft’s investment in ChatGPT could create a game-changing AI search engine
Google said the new AI tool will soon be made available to “trusted users” ahead of a wider public release in the coming weeks. In a blog post, he announced that the artificial AI features made available by the Bard chatbot “will soon start rolling out to Google Search.”
This would affect how Google responds to search queries. In the future, instead of providing a series of links in response to your query, it would provide a paragraph of text that the AI composed after digesting those links.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet plans explained 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 was in development by Google Search for many months, but the company only announced its existence less than two weeks after Microsoft revealed its multi-billion dollar investment in ChatGPT’s parent company, OpenAI.
Google’s Bard and its rival ChatGPT, are known as AI chatbots, or generative AI applications. They are trained on vast amounts of textual data already available online.
These artificial intelligence tools generate text responses to prompts given by users. Examples of user prompts can be as simple as “what is the tallest mountain in the world”, or as complex as “write a book detailing the fundamentals of quantum mechanics”.
They are able to conduct human-like conversations with users, and through a process of questions (prompts) and answers, a vast array of written content can be produced in seconds. In addition to text responses, Bard and OpenAI offer multimedia information, including images, video, and audio.
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Referring to the capabilities of the new chatbot, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said, “Bard can be an outlet for creativity and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you explain new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope. from NASA to a nine-year-old, or learn about the best strikers in football right now, then get drills to develop your skills.”
He added: “It’s a really exciting time to be working on these technologies, as we translate extensive research and breakthroughs into products that really help people.
“That’s the journey we’ve been on with the 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 to write articles like this.
How is Bard different from ChatGPT?
Currently, the large data store that ChatGPT draws from to mimic human-language responses is outdated, and nothing after 2021 is included. This means that ChatGPT does not provide the latest information based on recent internet searches.
In contrast, Bard benefits from Google’s vast reach, access to information, and a wider array of media offerings.
Although Microsoft intends to integrate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, Bing’s market share is small, accounting for less than 10% of online searches.
Compare that to Google’s dominating 80% market share, and if both chatbots scale based on user questions, Google’s offering could overtake its competitor.
To put that into perspective, ChatGPT has 100 million users, but if Google integrates its chatbot into the dominant Google search engine, it could immediately onboard around a billion daily active users.
Bard uses a smaller version of Google’s LaMDA AI model. LaMDA stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications and it is specially trained to hold human-like conversations. LaMDA is a large neural network that mimics the way human neurons work in the brain, making the language process feel human and natural.
ChatGPT uses the GPT-3.5 model at the moment, but Microsoft plans to use GPT-4 to be integrated into its Bing search engine, which could bring it closer to its rival in terms of the date of the data it uses, and its general quality.
Will Bard be integrated with Google search?
The Google Bard AI chatbot is expected to be integrated with Google Search once it is released to the general public.
Users will be able to access it by asking questions through the search bar, with the chatbot obtaining information from the web to offer current answers to text queries.
Google’s Sundar Pichai explained that Bard will be able to draw on “information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality answers” and improve our understanding of information provided by Internet search engines.
Adding that the use of AI-assisted Internet search engines will convert information into knowledge tailored to each user. Pichai explained that the Bard 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 increasingly, people are turning to Google for information and deeper understanding, such as “is piano or guitar easier to learn, 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” early access to Bard and make it available to the general public “in the coming weeks.” However, the exact launch date of the Google Bard AI chatbot has yet to be confirmed, and there is currently no website accessible to sign up to use the new generative AI tool.
Explaining how Bard would be rolled out to users, Pichai wrote, “We are initially releasing it with our lightweight model version of LaMDA.
“This much smaller model requires a lot less computing power, which allows us to scale to more users, which leads to more returns.
“We will combine external feedback with our own internal testing to ensure that Bard’s responses achieve a high level of quality, security, and grounding in real-world information.
“We are excited about this testing phase to help us continue to learn and improve Bard’s quality and speed.”
Who else is in the running?
Meta (META), the owner of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, unveiled its own chatbot, called Galactica, ahead of the release of ChatGPT in November 2022.
Like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Galactica gave answers littered with factual errors. However, unlike OpenAI, Meta received a flood of complaints about Galactica’s errors. After just three days, the company, which has come under fire for its role in promoting misinformation and hate speech through its social media apps, took Galactica offline.
At a recent gathering of Silicon Valley leaders and thinkers, called Collective[i] ForecastYann LeCun, Chief Artificial Intelligence Scientist at Meta, said, “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 said pushed the boundaries of generative AI. However, he noted that he did not gain popularity as the company took steps to prevent him from generating inappropriate content.
A Chinese version of ChatGPT will be integrated into the country’s official Baidu search engine in March.
The tool does not yet have a name, but is expected to comply with online restrictions imposed by Beijing.
Baidu has invested heavily in AI research and the new service will be built on its Ernie AI system, which is a massive language model trained on data over several years.
The speed of AI application development
Big tech is taking generative AI seriously after ChatGPT and now Google’s Bard threatens to disrupt the internet as we know it.
Talking about the amazing speed of AI development, Pichai said that the scale of artificial intelligence calculations is now doubling every six monthsand at such a rate, it far exceeds Moore’s Law.
Moore’s Law is a prediction made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 that the number of transistors on a microchip would double approximately every two years, resulting in a corresponding increase in computing power and a decrease in the cost per transistor.
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