What is Bard, Google’s answer to ‘ChatGPT’ : A closer look at the announcement, timing

What is Bard, Google’s answer to ‘ChatGPT’ : A closer look at the announcement, timing

Context- Google has finally decided to answer the challenge and threat posed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI and its AI chatbot, ChatGPT. The search giant confirmed it will soon start public testing for a new AI chatbot of its own called Bard, based on the company’s Language Model for Dialogue Application or LaMDA.

In a blog post, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai also spoke about how AI-based features would be coming to Google Search as well. It should be noted that so far LaMDA was available in limited testing to select users of the company’s AI Test Kitchen app.

(Credits- Hindustan Times)

What is Bard, when can I access it?

  • Bard is based on LaMDA and Google’s own conversational AI chatbot. It is what Pichai termed an “experimental conversational AI service,” and Google will be “opening it up to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.”
  • According to the blog post, Bard “draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.” In short, it will give in-depth, conversational and essay-style answers just like ChatGPT does right now.
  • However, Google has also said that the model is currently a “lightweight” version of LaMDA, and the one being “requires significantly less computing power, enabling us to scale to more users, allowing for more feedback.”
  • Remember running these models also requires significant computing power. For instance, ChatGPT is powered by Microsoft’s Azure Cloud services. This also explains why the service often runs into errors at times, because too many people are accessing it.
  • Google says it will look at external feedback, along with “internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet a high bar for quality, safety and groundedness in real-world information.” So yes, Bard is now in a testing phase.

Is Bard better than ChatGPT? What is Bard based on?

  • Bard looks like a limited rollout right now. Google is looking for a lot of feedback at the moment around Bard, so it is hard to say whether it can answer more questions than ChatGPT. Google has also not made clear the amount of knowledge that Bard possesses.
  • For instance, with ChatGPT, we know its knowledge is limited to events till 2021. Of course, it is based on LaMDA, which has been in the news for a while now. Bard is also built on Transformer technology—which is also the backbone of ChatGPT and other AI bots. Transformer technology was pioneered by Google and made open-source in 2017.
  • Transformer technology is a neural network architecture, which is capable of making predictions based on inputs and is primarily used in natural language processing and computer vision technology. Previously, a Google engineer claimed LaMDA was a ‘sentient’ being with consciousness.
  • Still, Google has also showcased several capabilities of LaMDA last year, including a new project called Wordcraft which was being used to help write fiction. Last September, Google revealed that it “teamed up with professional writers who used the Wordcraft editor to create a volume of short stories.”
  • But Google had also cautioned that LaMDA was not very good at writing fiction by itself and right now was more of a helper to human writers.

Why has Google announced Bard right now?

  • The timing of this announcement is critical. It comes as Microsoft is preparing to announce an integration of ChatGPT into its Bing Search engine. Microsoft announced a surprise event today, just one day ahead of Google’s own AI event.
  • Google might have invented the ‘Transformer’ technology, but it is now being seen as a latecomer to the AI revolution. ChatGPT in many ways is being called the end of Google Search, given that conversational AI can give long, essay style and sometimes elegant answers to a user’s queries. Of course, not all of these are correct, but then AI is capable of correcting itself as well and learning from mistakes.
  • For Google, whose core business is search, this has resulted in a ‘code red’ at the company as New York Times reported. In fact, another New York Times report said that Google executives called in founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to review plans around AI.
  • Google has also announced it plans to bring AI features to search results. The blog post notes, “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web.

Conclusion- What this means is that when searching for information on Google in the future, one can expect chunks and nuggets of information, likely sourced from blogs or articles summarized in a manner so as to make it more helpful to users.

Source- Indian Express

NEWS- What is Bard, Google’s answer to ‘ChatGPT’ : A closer look at the announcement, timing

Syllabus- GS-3; Science and Technology

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