Google’s Alphabet loses $100 billion in market value after AI chatbot Bard gives wrong answer


New York: Google Inc’s new experimental AI service, ‘Bard’, which was developed as an answer to Microsoft’s ChatGPT, delivered inaccurate information in its promotional video. Shares of the company tumbled 7.8 percent on the Nasdaq exchange in the regular trading hours on February 8, and were largely flat in the after-hour trading.

However, this advertisement showed Google’s Bard answering a query incorrectly. The error in the ad has cost Google dearly as the shares of its parent company Alphabet have gone down by over 7%. This dive has knocked off $100bn (£82bn) of the company’s market value.

On Wednesday morning, Google’s live-streamed presentation did not include details about how and when it would integrate Bard into its core search function. The errors in Bard were discovered just before the presentation by Google, based in Mountain View, California.

However, a day before, the tech giant and Google’s rival, Microsoft held an event touting that it had already released to the public a version of its Bing search with ChatGPT functions integrated, Reuters reported.

Gil Luria, senior software analyst at D.A. Davidson said, “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. It has been scrambling over the last few weeks to catch up on Search and that caused the announcement on Tuesday to be rushed and the embarrassing mess up of posting a wrong answer during their demo.”

Alphabet Inc posted a short GIF video of Bard in action via Twitter, promising it would help simplify complex topics, but it instead delivered an inaccurate answer.

In the advertisement, Bard is given the prompt: “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year-old about?”

“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,” a Google spokesperson said.

Microsoft’s ChatGPT software has injected excitement into technology firms after tens of thousands of job cuts in recent weeks and executive pledges to pare back on so-called moonshot projects.

Reuters found that Artificial Intelligence has become a fixation for tech executives who have mentioned it as much as six times more often on recent earnings calls than in prior quarters.

The appeal of AI-driven search is that it could spit out results in plain language, rather than in a list of links, which could make browsing faster and more efficient. It remains unclear what impact that might have on targeted advertising, the backbone of search engines like Google.

Chatbot AI systems also carry risks for corporations because of inherent biases in their algorithms that can skew results, sexualize images or even plagiarize, as consumers testing the service have discovered.

Comments are closed.