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Bard: Google launches AI for over -18s

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Bard, Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot, is now available, but only to certain users over the age of 18.

Unlike ChatGPT, which is also very popular, it can get up-to-date information online and has a “Google it” button that lets you search.

It also says where the information came from, such as Wikipedia.

But Google said that Bard would have “limitations” and could spread false information and show bias.

This is because it “learns” from information in the real world, which already has these biases. This means that stereotypes and false information could show up in their answers.

How does Bard work?

AI chatbots are set up to answer questions online in a way that sounds natural and human.

They can write anything, from computer code to student essays, speeches, and marketing copy.

When ChatGPT came out in November 2022, more than a million people were using it within a week, according to the company that made it, OpenAI.

Microsoft has put billions of dollars into it; last month, it added it to its Bing search engine.

It has also said that it will add a version of this technology to its office apps, such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Google’s version of generative AI, Bard, which is being released first in the US and UK, has been slower and more cautious than others. To try it out, users will have to sign up.

Bard is a version of Google’s older language model, Lamda, which was never fully released to the public. It did get a lot of attention, though, when one of the engineers who worked on it said that the answers it gave were so convincing that he thought it was conscious. Google didn’t believe what he said, so he was fired.

Google’s senior product director Jack Krawczyk told the BBC that Bard is “an experiment” and that he hopes people will use it as a “launchpad for creativity.”

He showed me how he had used Bard to help him plan a birthday party for his young child.

It came up with a theme that included his child’s love of bunnies and gymnastics, found the address of a place he mentioned, and suggested party games and food.

ChatGPT’s knowledge database only goes as far as 2021, so it can’t answer questions about the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria, for example. Bard, on the other hand, can get information that is up to date. For example, it told me about a story on the BBC website a few days ago about how TikTok was banned on government phones in the UK.

It is set up to not respond to offensive prompts and has filters to stop it from sharing harmful, illegal, sexually explicit, or personally identifiable information. However, Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google Research, said, “Like any method, these guardrails will sometimes fail.”

I’m right; this is a very careful way to launch a product. It’s about as far from the “move fast and break things” attitude of early big tech as it’s possible to get.

When I asked if the company was nervous, Mr. Krawczyk paused before telling me that it was “deliberate” in how it launched Bard.

Google has good reason to be scared if it is

There is a lot of excitement about this kind of technology, but there are also horror stories about some of the more disturbing things ChatGPT has been used to doing. There are also fears that, in the long run, these powerful tools, which are still in their early stages, could pose a huge threat to many different kinds of jobs.

Also, and this is important for Google, there is a theory that chatbots could one day take over the very profitable business of internet search. Why go through pages of search results when you could get a single answer that is well-written? Google must stay caught up.

Mr. Krawczyk and Mr. Ghahramani discussed how technology comes with responsibilities and rules. They also told me about the huge data centers that run Bard and how they want to use renewable energy to power them.

When I asked if students would start using Bard instead of ChatGPT to do their homework, they said that Google was only letting people over 18 use it. Teachers have told their students not to use chatbots to do their homework, but some teachers are excited about the idea.

Read Also: Chat GPT: Microsoft announces rival AI 

Google says it will keep a close eye on Bard to ensure it follows its own “AI principles,” which say bias shouldn’t be made or strengthened.

It won’t be able to say what it thinks or have a personality, but, like ChatGPT, it can write like other people.

Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins, who helped write the launch blog post for Google, said it helped them write their announcement.

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