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Google counters ChatGPT

by Marco van der Hoeven

Yesterday Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichal announced in a blogpost the upcoming launch of Bard, an AI-tool based om the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). The announcement comes at a time when ChatGPT is making waves, and Microsoft invests heavily to incorporate this technology in Teams.

“We’ve been working on an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, that we’re calling Bard. And today, we’re taking another step forward by opening it up to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks”, Pichard wrote.

He also said that “we’re committed to developing AI responsibly: In 2018, Google was one of the first companies to publish a set of AI Principles. We continue to provide education and resources for our researchers, partner with governments and external organizations to develop standards and best practices, and work with communities and experts to make AI safe and useful “


However, last year Google engineer Blake Lemoine, who worked on the LaMDA program, claimed the technology had become sentient. The Google management dismissed this claim, and when he was subsequently placed on paid administrative leave he went public with the claim. In 2020 Google fired another internal critic of AI-based language models, ethicist Timnit Gebru.

Pichal says Alphabet has made a lot of investments in Google AI and DeepMind. The scale of the largest AI computations is doubling every six months, far outpacing Moore’s Law. At the same time, advanced generative AI and large language models get a lot of attention from the public. The first area Google will incorporate this AI is Search, to answer more complex questions that require deeper insight and understanding than a mere data search.

Next month Google also will start onboarding developers, creators and enterprises to try the Generative Language API, initially powered by LaMDA with a range of models to follow. Over time, Google intends to create a suite of tools and APIs for others to build applications with AI.

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