Google Humiliated, Alphabet Shares Tumble $100 Billion After New AI Chatbot Gives Wrong Answer During Demo; “Rigorous Testing” Needed

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Google Humiliated
The fallout from Google Bard’s AI gaffe was so severe that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, lost $100 billion in market value on Wednesday. File photo: Salarko, Shutter Stock, licensed.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Google is in the process of rolling out its new “conversational” AI-based chatbot – code-named Bard – to the public over the course of the next few weeks. However, in its very first official demonstration this week, Bard gave a factually incorrect answer to a question posed to it, humiliating Google on a worldwide stage in the process. 

The flub came about when Bard – a proposed rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT – was asked a science-based question: “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about?”  

Bard replied with three answers, one of which claimed that the James Webb Space Telescope “took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system.” 

Fortunately, numerous astronomers on Twitter dogpiled the incorrect answer, including Grant Tremblay an Astrophysicist at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics and the Smithsonian Museum.  

“Not to be a ~well, actually~ jerk, and I’m sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take “the very first image of a planet outside our solar system,” he tweeted. “The first image was instead done by Chauvin et al. (2004) with the VLT/NACO using adaptive optics.” 

Bruce Macintosh, director of University of California Observatories at UC Santa Cruz, also chimed in on Bard’s error. 

“Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?” he tweeted

Tremblay later issued a follow-up tweet, noting that AI chatbots are often very unreliable and can help to spread confusion and misinformation by posing incorrect information as fact. 

“I do love and appreciate that one of the most powerful companies on the planet is using a JWST search to advertise their LLM. Awesome!” he tweeted. “But ChatGPT etc., while spooky impressive, are often *very confidently* wrong. Will be interesting to see a future where LLMs self error check.” 

 In response, Google issued a statement, saying that “rigorous testing” was needed. 

“This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program. We’ll combine external feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.” 

The fallout from the gaffe was so severe that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, lost $100 billion in market value on Wednesday

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