The $100 Billion blunder by Google’s AI Chatbot ‘Bard’ hints the panic within the company is real

The launch of Google Bard, an AI-powered chatbot, fired back as Alphabet shares slid as much as 9%, amounting to $100 billion. The fiasco also hints that the panic within the company due to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT is real.

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The stock price of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) tanked as much as 9% on Wednesday, resulting in a loss of a whopping $100 billion in terms of market cap. The sharp dip was triggered due to the latest blunder caused by its new chatbot Bard which supplied incorrect information in a promotional video. As a result, Google Bard failed to impress the audience and attendees of the event. The failure has also seeded the fear towards the creditability of Bard as many now believe that Google’s AI Chatbot is the result of hush-hush development out of the company’s fears of fast losing ground to Microsoft.

Reuters was the first to report an oversight in Google‘s advertising for chatbot Bard, which debuted on Monday. In the video showing Bard in action, Google’s chatbot responded to a question about new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). According to the chatbot, JWST was used to take pictures of a planet outside the Milky Way. The answer, however, was incorrect.

Google has been watching closely following OpenAI, the startup Microsoft has invested around $10 billion, which was launched in November 2022. It has been able to impress consumers and is now the talk of Silicon Valley circles for its exact and well-written answers to simple questions.

Google’s live-streamed presentation from Wednesday morning didn’t include specifics on when and how it will incorporate Bard into its main search feature. One day prior, Microsoft held an event claiming that it had made a version of Bing integrated with ChatGPT functions available to the public.

The functionality error with Google Bard was discovered prior to the presentation by the company, located in Mountain View, California.

“While Google has been a leader in AI innovation over the last several years, they seemed to have fallen asleep on implementing this technology into their search product,” said Gil Luria, senior software analyst at D.A. Davidson.

“Google has been scrambling over the last few weeks to catch up on Search and that caused the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) to be rushed and the embarrassing mess up of posting a wrong answer during their demo,” he added.

On one side the AI chatbot brought down the stock value of Alphabet, Microsoft shares rose by 3 per cent on Wednesday and then remained flat after-market trading.

Alphabet published a brief GIF footage of Bard in action on Twitter, promising that it would simplify complicated subjects, but the latest blunder proved the claim untrue.

Incredible Competitor

Alphabet is following a disappointing fourth quarter as advertisers reduced spending.

The advertising and search giant is quickly moving to keep up with OpenAI and its competitors, bringing in the founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page back into action to help speed up its efforts.

But the feelers are not favouring Google. Analysts believe that Google may be facing the toughest competition in the search space as Bing with OpenAI would prove to be much ahead of Google Search. And, the latest blunder by Google Bard proves them true to an extent.

The latest ChatGPT software has brought energy into tech firms following hundreds of thousands of job cuts in the last few weeks. Employees are now refraining from moonlighting in fear of losing their jobs, while executives are committed to working on moonshot projects to decrease their reliance on humans.

AI is now a major concern for tech executives, who have spoken about it as many than six times more frequently during earnings calls recently as they did during the previous period, Reuters found.

The benefit of AI-driven search is the fact that it will deliver results in plain English, instead of in the form of a list of hyperlinks which could make searching quicker as well as more effective. However, it’s not yet clear how this could affect targeted advertising, which drives the growth of many internet companies, including Google and Meta (Facebook).

But AI-powered chatbots are emerging as a threat not only to employees. It also poses dangers for companies due to inherent biases in their algorithms that could create unprecedented challenges, as those who use the service have observed. In the past, there were numerous incidents when organisations faced humiliation and challenges due to technology. For instance, Microsoft introduced a chatbot to Twitter in 2016 that swiftly started generating racist content prior to being removed. In another recent incident, CNET was found to be publishing false or plagiarized news stories generated by AI-powered tools.


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