What turned out to be the error of the Bard chatbot for Google

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, lost $100 billion in market value on Wednesday after the new Bard service made a mistake in its own presentation.

This is not just an unpleasant blunder for a conversational bot. This “funny” mistake casts a shadow over the entire Bard AI technology, which Google positions as a competitor to ChatGPT. By the way, Microsoft has already announced that GPT OpenAI technology will be integrated into the homepage of its Bing search engine (maybe after that it will really start to be a search engine, and not the subject of constant jokes).

In a fateful announcement that appeared on Google’s Twitter this week, the company described the new bot as:

… Bard is an experimental conversational artificial intelligence service based on LaMDA. Created using our large language models and based on information from the Internet, it is a starting point for finding interesting things and can help to tell just about complex topics

The message was accompanied by a GIF on which the Bard asked: “What new discoveries of the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old?” The chatbot answers the question, including the statement that the telescope took the very first pictures of “exoplanets”.

“These discoveries can awaken a child’s imagination about the infinite wonders of the universe,” says chatbot Bard.

The problem is that the James Webb Telescope did not detect exoplanets. The first images of these unusual celestial bodies were taken in 2004 by the large telescope of the European Southern Observatory (The European Southern Observatory’s very large telescope), which is confirmed by NASA.

Social media users instantly reminded Google that the company could verify their chatbot’s claim about exoplanets, well, just by Googling.

This advertisement appeared on the web just a few hours before Google’s top managers began advertising Bard as the future of the company at a presentation in Paris. By Wednesday, Alphabet’s shares had fallen by as much as 9% (although by the close of the markets, the losses were no longer so significant).

Meanwhile, shares of Microsoft, a competitor of Google, rose 3%. Recall that this company invested $ 10 billion in OpenAI, the startup that created ChatGPT.

Google has not yet responded to media requests for comment. There is only a message from CEO Sundar Pichai that Bard will be available exclusively to “proven testers” before the program is distributed to ordinary users.

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