Google announced Tuesday that it is letting more people interact with "Bard," the artificial intelligence chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a critical technology battleground.
In the next phase of Bard, Google opens a waiting list to use an AI tool similar to the ChatGPT technology that Microsoft began rolling out to its Bing search engine with great success last month. And last week, Microsoft incorporated more AI-powered technology into its word processing, spreadsheet and slideshow programs with a new feature called Copilot.
Until now, Bard was only available to a small group of "trusted testers" selected by Google. The Mountain View, California, company, owned by Alphabet Inc, has not communicated how many people will have access to Bard in the next phase of development of the technology. Initial applicants will be limited to the US and UK before Google offers Bard in more countries.
Google is being cautious in rolling out its AI tools, in part because it has the most to lose if the technology spews out inaccurate information or leads its users down dark corridors. This is because Google's dominant search engine has become a de facto gateway to the Internet for billions of people, raising the risk of a mass backlash that could tarnish its image and undermine its business-driven by advertising if the technology misbehaves.
Despite the pitfalls of technology, Bard continues to offer "incredible benefits" such as "boosting human productivity, creativity and curiosity," Google says in a blog post that two of its vice presidents - Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins - they wrote with the help of Bard.
As a precaution, Google is limiting the interaction between Bard and its users, a tactic Microsoft has imposed with ChatGPT after news outlets reported cases in which the technology compared an Associated Press journalist to Hitler and tried to persuade a New York Times reporter to divorce his wife.
Google also provides access to Bard through a separate site from its search engine, which serves as the basis for the digital ads that generate most of its revenue. In a tacit acknowledgment that Bard may be prone to fabricating falsehoods, known in tech circles as "hallucinations," Google offers a query box attached to its search engine to make it easy for users to check the accuracy of the information displayed by the AI.
Bard made an embarrassing mistake shortly after Google unveiled the tool by prominently displaying a wrong answer about a scientific milestone during a presentation that was supposed to show how clever the technology could be. The gaffe contributed to a nearly 8% drop in Alphabet shares in a single day, wiping out nearly $100 billion in shareholder wealth and underscoring how close investors are to how Google manages the transition. to the AI.
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