Google chatbot goof up costs parent Alphabet $100 billion

Launched on Monday, Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard gave a wrong answer to a query about which satellite first took photos of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system.

New Delhi | Updated: 09 February, 2023 3:22 pm IST

Google’s parent Alphabet Inc lost USD100 billion in market valuation on Wednesday after its new chatbot – a rival to ChatGPT – produced inaccurate results in an advertisement video, sparking fears that the Internet giant is losing ground to Microsoft.

Launched on Monday, Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard gave a wrong answer to a query about which satellite first took photos of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system.

Stock prices of Alphabet fell by nine per cent during a regular trading session. It later recovered by nearly 2 per cent and closed at a single-day loss of 7 per cent.

According to Reuters, Alphabet shares lost 40 per cent in value last year but saw an upward climb of 15 per cent since the beginning of this year.

Google has been hot on heels since November last year when OpenAI, a startup firm backed by rival Microsoft Corp with a USD10 billion investment, launched ChatGPT which has taken the world by storm with its surprisingly accurate and well-written responses to simple queries.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses,” writes Alphabet CEO Sudar Pichai.

The ace engineer from India also said, “Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.”

The Internet giant, however, has yet not announced details about how and when it would integrate the chatbot into its core search function.

On the contrary, Microsoft has already released a version of its Bing search engine integrated with ChatGPT functions.

Many tech observers have blamed Google’s lack of pro-activeness in implementing AI innovations for launching an erroneous product in a rush.

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