Google outlines ambitious vision for Bard AI chatbot

The AI landscape is becoming increasingly competitive, with companies setting ambitious goals in bringing AI to a more extensive user base

Multinational technology company Google has revealed an ambitious vision for its experimental chatbot, Bard. The company envisions Bard as a means to develop a new product that could attract a potential user base of two billion, a milestone achieved by only a select few products thus far. 

Bard, Google's chatbot powered by AI, is specifically crafted to assist users in brainstorming ideas and retrieving information from the internet in a personalised manner. Senior Director of Product, Jack Krawczyk, has emphasised the objective of making AI more accessible and valuable to the average consumer in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference in New York.

Introducing AI to a broader audience

One of the primary strategies involves incorporating Bard's capabilities into Google Assistant, a widely used tool for tasks like setting timers and executing commands which is on more than one billion devices according to company data. This integration, initially accessible on mobile devices, aims to bring AI to a more extensive user base. 

"We think that opens a completely new path," Krawczyk said.

The initiative aligns with Google's overarching goal of broadening the application of AI. Alphabet, its parent company, already oversees six products, such as Google Search and YouTube, each boasting a user base in the billions. However, the AI landscape is intensifying in competition. 

The competitive future of AI

As with any industry, the AI space is becoming increasingly competitive. Amazon intends to enhance its Alexa assistant with similar generative AI features, and OpenAI has recently introduced voice commands to its ChatGPT tool. 

Despite the competitive landscape, a Reuters report, citing Similar Web data, indicates that Bard's web traffic increased by 2% in October, reaching 8.7 million, signalling a shift in how consumers gather information. However, Bard has encountered challenges, including instances of “hallucination” where the chatbot generates non-existent content. 

For example, it displayed messages that were not present when asked to analyse content in a user's Gmail inbox. Google is dedicated to enhancing Bard's usefulness and adapting to effectively accommodate a large user base.

As reported by Reuters, on Wednesday, Bard encountered difficulties when a surge of users attempted to use it in "record numbers," according to Krawczyk. Simultaneously, OpenAI reported a significant outage in ChatGPT on the same day.

Competition is not necessarily a bad thing

AI is getting more competitive in a number of ways. Its improved performance means that AI models are becoming increasingly accurate and efficient, thanks to advances in machine learning algorithms and the availability of more powerful computing resources. The increased access to data available to train said AI models has grown exponentially, giving AI systems a significant advantage over traditional rule-based systems. 

AI is now being used to solve a wide range of problems in a variety of industries, including healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and logistics, and as a result of these trends, technology is becoming increasingly essential for businesses that want to stay competitive. Companies that are not investing in AI are at risk of falling behind their competitors.

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