Google has launched its own artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, in answer to the wildly successful ChatGPT.
The new conversational AI service will be named Bard and will be put out to “trusted users” before a public release in the coming weeks, Google’s parent firm Alphabet Inc announced on Monday.
It comes following the release of ChatGPT – an AI chatbot trained on a huge amount of text data, which it leverages to help generate answers and carry out realistic conversations.
Released by research firm OpenAI late last year, the chatbot threatened to upend how people prepare for job interviews, journalists write stories, and children do homework.
The chatbot has been such a success, that earlier this month it was revealed that the service had been used by more than 100 million users worldwide in under two months.
The announcement was made in a blog post on Monday by Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai, who also announced more artificial intelligence for its search engine as well as developers.
He wrote: “It’s a really exciting time to be working on these technologies as we translate deep research and breakthroughs into products that truly help people.
“That’s the journey we’ve been on with large language models.
“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 nine-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.”
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Google’s service Bard will be powered by LaMDA, the company’s AI that can generate prose so human-like that a company engineer last year called it sentient – a claim the technology giant and scientists widely dismissed.
Google has been cautious about chatbots until now, with LaMDA restricted to limited testing.
Explaining how Bard would be released, Pichai wrote: “We’re releasing it initially with our lightweight model version of LaMDA.
“This much smaller model requires significantly less computing power, enabling us to scale to more users, allowing for more feedback.
“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.
“We’re excited for this phase of testing to help us continue to learn and improve Bard’s quality and speed.”
Rival Microsoft is also set to shake up its own products with AI, including search engine Bing, after making a multibillion-dollar investment in OpenAI.
Microsoft has since announced plans to implement ChatGPT into its Teams software, where it will do things like summarise meetings, but the features will be restricted to a premium pricing plan.