Google's AI Chatbot Delivers Wrong Answer in Demo

Bard flubbed question on James Webb Space Telescope
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2023 1:10 PM CST
Google's AI Chatbot Should Have Googled Answer
This image of an exoplanet, the red object in the lower left was taken in 2004.   (NASA/ESO)

If AI chatbots could feel embarrassment, Google's Bard might be blushing. In a demo tweeted Monday by Google ahead of a launch event, Bard confidently delivered a wrong answer, the Telegraph reports. In response to the query, "What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about," one of Bard's answers was, "JWST took the very first pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system." The first image of an exoplanet, however, was taken by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in 2004, and astronomers involved in the discovery were among those who corrected Bard in social media posts, reports the Verge.

"Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?" tweeted Bruce Macintosh, director of University of California Observatories at UC Santa Cruz. Astrophysicist Grant Tremblay tweeted: "Not to be a ... jerk, and I'm sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take 'the very first image of a planet outside our solar system.'" He added that services like Bard and rival ChatGPT, "while spooky impressive, are often *very confidently* wrong."

Stock in Alphabet, Google's parent company, had climbed after the Bard announcement but it dropped more than 7% Wednesday. Analysts say Google appeared to have messed up when it rushed its announcement to compete with Microsoft's announcement that ChatGPT would become part of its Bing search engine, reports Reuters. Google said improvements are underway. "This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program," a spokesperson said. "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." (More Bard stories.)

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