Conversational AI services like ChatGPT are absolutely dominating the tech news these days, and for good reason. Whether you want answers to a medical question or a serviceable 800-word essay on existentialism, the new breed of AI services will suck in information from the internet at large, and spit back content that’s remarkably human-ish.
Google has been lagging behind the upstart AI platforms—if only in terms of recent press coverage. But today Google made a big effort to catch up with the larger AI conversation, officially announcing a new AI platform called Bard in a blog post by company CEO, Sundar Pichai. Much like ChatGPT, Bard is designed to produce detailed answers to questions both large and small.
Below you’ll find a screenshot of how Bard answers a nuanced challenge—namely, explaining the James Webb Space Telescope in a way that’s calibrated to a 9-year-old brain.
It remains to be seen how Bard differs from ChatGPT, but if screenshots in the blog post are any indication, it looks like Google’s secret sauce will be to integrate AI directly into search. For example, one search query asked “is piano or guitar easier to learn, and how much practice does each need?” That was immediately answered with a very ChatGPT-like response, and that was followed by typical search results on the topic.
The AI service, which is built on LaMDA (aka Language Model for Dialogue Applications), Google’s language model, will be rolling out in the next couple of weeks to the general public. In the mean time, Bard is currently being tested by a small group. Google plans on releasing Bard with a more lightweight version of LaMDA, which doesn’t require a whole lot of computing power to run. This allows more folks to use it at once.
The question of the hour is: Will Bard immediately replace ChatGPT as the AI service du jour? Only time will tell. But it does look like Google is sensitive to criticisms that ChatGPT could be used as a vehicle for plagiarism, or even that its replies may not be accurate. As Pichai writes in his blog post. “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.”