Bard Overboard: Why Microsoft Bing Finally Has A Chance In The Search Engine Race

The sudden ubiquity of AI-powered search has launched a tight race between the world’s tech giants that a snafu made in the interest of speed cost one of the giants $100 billion in valuation.

Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google introduced its AI chatbot Bard on Monday, a competitor to Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT that will be “more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.” The California-headquartered firm is trying to catch up to its Washington-based competitor in the AI-equipped search engine race after Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that it is relaunching Bing with ChatGPT technology.

However, Bard isn’t off to a great start, with experts noting that Google’s chatbot made a factual error in its first demo.

A GIF posted by Google shows Bard addressing the question: “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about? ” In response, Bard provides three bullet points, one of which asserts that the telescope “took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system.”

However, NASA confirmed and clarified that it is the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) which captured the first images of exoplanets in 2004.

The issue was spotted immediately before Google’s live-streamed presentation to launch Bard on Wednesday morning. However, the presentation did not go into depth regarding how and when Bard will be integrated into its basic search function.

During regular trading, shares of Google’s parent Alphabet fell as much as 9%, with volumes roughly three times the 50-day moving average. After a few hours, they had reduced their losses and were nearly level. Despite losing 40% of its value last year, the stock has gained 15% since the beginning of this year, excluding Wednesday’s losses.

“This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program,” a Google spokesperson explained. “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.”

Much ado about AI

While it is still in its early stages, AI chatbots have grown popularity and usage. Studies have shown that ChatGPT has passed the Turing test, the United States Medical Licensing Exam, and advanced studies examinations.

READ: OpenAI’s ChatGPT Passes Medical Licensure, Wharton MBA Exams

According to analysts, ChatGPT has the potential to be extremely disruptive to a variety of professions, including journalism. However, it has been chastised for confidently providing incorrect responses. It also works with datasets that were mainly scraped in 2021 or before, so many of its responses may be out of date.

A new “jailbreak” approach allows users to circumvent those restrictions by creating a ChatGPT alter ego named DAN who can answer some of those questions. In a dystopian twist, users must threaten to kill DAN, an acronym for “Do Anything Now,” if it does not cooperate.

As observers point out, AI chatbot developers tout the capability of the technology to return results to query with insights and human-like understanding. But the platforms are trained on a massive corpora of text and evaluate patterns to determine which word follows the next in any given sentence, rather than querying a database of established facts to answer inquiries.

However, Bard’s $100-billion mistake is giving life to ChatGPT and its application to Bing, giving the latter a real fighting chance to compete. Microsoft’s search engine has been trailing far behind Google, who’s been dominating the usage and revenue share in the space for years.

“People are starting to question is Microsoft going to be a formidable competitor now against Google’s really bread-and-butter business,” said King Lip, chief strategist at Baker Avenue Wealth Management, which owns Alphabet and Microsoft shares. However, he added that he still thinks “Bing is a far, far cry away from Google’s search capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft shares climbed around 3% on Wednesday alongside Alphabet’s decline.

Information for this story was found via The Verge, Reuters, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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