Google (GOOGL) rolled out its Bard AI chatbot, described by the company in its blog as an “experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMBDA.” Following its release, Bard proceeded to tweet out misinformation in regards to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The misinformed tweet comes in the form of an advertisement for Bard which sees a short GIF demonstrating an example of a Q&A interaction with the chatbot.
The example question asks Bard about, “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about?” To this, Bard answers with three ideas including one that suggests, “JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system. These distant worlds are called ‘exoplanets.’ Exo means ‘from outside.’”
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023
While its description of exoplanets is correct, the rest of this idea presented by Bard is false as the first to take pictures of a planet outside our solar system wasn't JWST but was instead the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) back in 2004; a fact that’s been explicitly confirmed by NASA.
The mistake was quickly spotted by the likes of astrophysicist Grant Tremblay along with University of California Observatories at UC Santa Cruz, Bruce Macintosh, who tweeted, “Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?”
Given this noticeably rocky introduction to Bard, it’s not altogether surprising to learn that Google (GOOGL) stock took a sharp dip recently, with stock falling around 8 percent. Currently, Google stock is shown down -7.94 percent with charts reporting every 15 minutes showing stock continuing to drop.
As reported by Reuters, shares of Google’s parent company lost over $100 billion in market value, with analysts suggesting its “AI search event lacked details on how it will answer Microsoft’s ChatGPT challenge.”
"This is a hiccup here and they're severely punishing the stock for it, which is justified because obviously everybody is pretty excited to see what Google's going to counter with Microsoft coming out with a pretty decent product," said Dennis Dick, founder and market structure analyst at Triple D Trading, in the Reuters article.
The issues with Bard aren’t unique to Google’s AI, as recently other AI-based programs have found themselves in hot water including the AI-driven Seinfeld spoof getting banned on Twitch over transphobic jokes. It’ll be interesting to see how these companies tackle issues and errors with AI, especially with statements being made by the likes of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who asserts the age of AI is already upon us.