The Headlines: Google’s Chatbot Bard Spreads Misinfo in First Demo, Loses Them $140 Billion

Google’s AI Chatbot Blunder

On February 6, Google dropped a plug for its new AI chatbot named Bard. And Bard flopped. Incredibly hard. 

This is for two major reasons. First of all, this AI chatbot spread some misinfo in its very first advertisement. A human asked Bard for some fun facts about the James Webb Space Telescope. Bard responded by saying that this scope took the very first pics of a planet that’s not in our solar system. Which is false. This honour goes to European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

Secondly, Google’s ad lacked wow-factor. Compared to ChatGPT, commentators think this new AI chatbot doesn’t seem like anything special. 

After said ad dropped, Google’s stocks also dropped. Its parent company, Alphabet Inc, lost $140 billion in market value.

“While Google has been a leader in AI innovation over the last several years, they seemed to have fallen asleep on implementing this technology into their search product,” said Gil Luria, Senior Software Analyst for D.A. Davidson.

“Google has been scrambling over the last few weeks to catch up on Search, and that caused the announcement yesterday to be rushed and the embarrassing mess up of posting a wrong answer during their demo.”

In response to posting literal misinformation online, a Google spokesperson stated, “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program.”

“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.”

Türkiye and Syria: Earthquake Update

In Türkiye and Syria, the death toll just keeps rising. It’s now confirmed that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, which hit both of these countries on February 6, has officially killed over 11,500 people. This fact makes said earthquake the most deadly seismic event that’s happened in over ten years.

What’s more, humanitarian organisations are worried that the folks that survived this earthquake won’t survive the aftermath. This is because most of these people don’t have proper access to water, food, hospitality, and electricity, just to name a few resources.

“We are in real danger of seeing a secondary disaster which may cause harm to more people than the initial disaster if we don’t move with the same pace and intensity as we are doing on the search and rescue,” said Robert Holden, the World Health Organization’s Incident Response Manager.

“This is no easy task… The scale of the operation is massive.”

Related: Earthquake in Türkiye — Here’s What You Can Do to Help

Related: What It’s Like to Be an Asylum Seeker or Refugee in Australia

Wollongong’s Carpark Bee Sanctuary

Meanwhile, in some positive news, a NSW concrete car park in Wollongong has been transformed into a native bee sanctuary. This is thanks to the efforts of Jacob Williams and Conor Teevan.

“We’re showcasing what you can do with any space,” said Williams, a First Nations man.

“The urban environment shouldn’t restrict native vegetation, it should be integrated with it. If we can put it on a car park, you can put it in your front or backyard or on the public streets.”

Williams also noted, “It’s all about education and adding to the biodiversity of the region. People can learn about native plants, and we can educate people about the importance of natives. Everyone has to pay their debt to the land that we live on.”

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