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Business News/ Companies / News/  What is Bard? Google CEO Sundar Pichai explains the newly introduced AI chatbot
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What is Bard? Google CEO Sundar Pichai explains the newly introduced AI chatbot

Bard comes in less than two weeks after Microsoft disclosed it's pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, the San Francisco-based maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can write readable text and generate new images.

In his blog post on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google's Bard conversational AI was to go out for testing with a plan to make it more widely available 'in the coming weeks.' (AP)Premium
In his blog post on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google's Bard conversational AI was to go out for testing with a plan to make it more widely available 'in the coming weeks.' (AP)

Google has introduced a new experimental AI chatbot named ‘Bard’, a conversational service apparently aimed at countering the popularity of the ChatGPT tool backed by Microsoft.

Bard comes in less than two weeks after Microsoft disclosed it's pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, the San Francisco-based maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can write readable text and generate new images.

Also Read: Baidu to finish testing ChatGPT-style project 'Ernie Bot' in March

ChatGPT, created by San Francisco company OpenAI, has caused a sensation for its ability to write essays, poems or programming code on demand within seconds, sparking widespread fears of cheating or of entire professions becoming obsolete.

Microsoft announced last month that it was backing OpenAI and has begun to integrate ChatGPT features into its Teams platform, with expectations that it will adapt the app to its Office suite and Bing search engine.

Explaining about Bard, Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blogpost wrote, “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models."

Google's announcement came on the eve of an AI-related launch event by Microsoft in yet a further sign that the two tech giants will do battle over the technology, also known as generative AI.

Independent tech analyst Rob Enderle told AFP that, “Generative AI is a game changer and much like the rise of the internet sank the networking giants that came before (AOL, CompuServe etc.) it has the potential to change the competitive dynamic for search and information."

"Google still largely lives off the fact their search engine is the most widely used, this could change that, relegating them to history," he added.

What is Bard?

Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world's knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models.

Google's Bard is based on LaMDA, the firm's Language Model for Dialogue Applications system, and has been in development for several years.

"It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses," he added, hinting that the app would give up-to-the date responses, something ChatGPT is unable to do.

It also claims the service will also perform other more mundane tasks, such as providing tips for planning a party, or lunch ideas based on what food is left in a refrigerator. 

Google's chatbot is supposed to be able to explain complex subjects such as outer space discoveries in terms simple enough for a child to understand.

“Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity," Pichai wrote

He also wrote, “we will make Bard more widely available in coming weeks. It's early, we will launch, iterate and make it better."

As people turn to Google for deeper insights and understanding, AI can help us get to the heart of what they're looking for. We're starting with AI-powered features in Search that distill complex info into easy-to-digest formats so you can see the big picture then explore more, Pichai explains.

Pichai further said that Bard initially will be available exclusively to a group of “trusted testers" before being widely released later this year.

Before the emergence of ChatGPT, which was released in late November, Google had been reluctant to launch its own language-based AI fearing the reputational risk of releasing technology that wasn't ready.

In a report last week, CNBC said a team of Google engineers working on artificial intelligence technology “has been asked to prioritize working on a response to ChatGPT".

Bard had been a service being developed under a project called “Atlas," as part of Google's “code red" effort to counter the success of ChatGPT, which has attracted tens of millions of users since its general release late last year, while also raising concerns in schools about its ability to write entire essays for students.

Researchers using the same language models as Bard or ChatGPT have demonstrated the technology's ability to spew out misinformation or nonsense on a potentially massive scale. Facebook-owner Meta in November was forced to take down the release of its own large language model called Galactica after three days when users shared its biased and incorrect results on social media within hours of its release. Crucially for its looming duel with Microsoft, Google also said that users would soon see AI-powered features in its search engine.

(Inputs from agencies)

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Published: 07 Feb 2023, 05:55 AM IST
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