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Google launches Al chatbot Bard

Google has started rolling out its AI chatbot Bard, but it is only available to certain users and they have to be over the age of 18.

Unlike its viral rival ChatGPT, it can access up-to-date information from the internet and has a “Google IT” button which accesses search.

It also name checks its sources for facts, such as Wikipedia.

But Google warned Bard would have “limitations” and said it might share misinformation and display bias.

This is because it “learns” from real-world information, in which those biases currently exist – meaning it is possible for stereotypes and false information to show up in its responses.

AI chatbots are programmed to answer questions online using natural, human-like language.

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

It has also disclosed plans to bring a version of the tech to its office apps including Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Google has been a slower and more cautious runner in the generative AI race with its version, Bard, which launches in the US and UK to begin with. Users will have to register to try it out.

Bard is a descendant of an earlier language model of Google’s called Lambda, which was never fully released to the public. It did, however, attract a lot of attention when one of the engineers who worked on it claimed its answers were so compelling that he believed it was sentient. 

It is programmed not to respond to offensive prompts and has filters to prevent it from sharing harmful, illegal, sexually explicit or personally identifiable information but “like any method these guardrails will occasionally fail”, said Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google Research.

If Google is nervous, it has good reason to be.

It helped Google write its own announcement, said the firm’s Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins, who were also co-authors of the launch blog post.

ChatGPT has been manipulated into doing, and there are also fears that ultimately these powerful tools, still currently in their infancy, could be a huge threat to lots of different types of jobs.

There is also  and this is particularly relevant to Google  a theory that chatbots could one day replace the lucrative business of internet search altogether.

 Mr Krawczyk and Mr Ghahramani talked a lot about the responsibility and principles that come with the tech.

“They even told me about the huge data centers powering Bard, and how they aim to run them using renewable energy”.

They revealed Google was restricting access to over-18s when I asked whether students would start using Bard to do their homework instead of ChatGPT. 

Teachers have warned pupils not to use chatbots to do their work for them although some educators have embraced it.

Google says it will be closely monitoring Bard to make sure it adheres to its own “AI principles” which include avoiding the creation or reinforcement of bias.

It will not be able to express opinions , although like ChatGPT it will be able to mimic the writing styles of others.

It helped Google write its own announcement, said the firm’s Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins, who were also co-authors of the launch blog post.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; editing by Julian Osamoto