The Headlines: Google’s Chatbot Bard Hits Early Access — But Is It Any Good?

Yup, Google Bard’s in Early Access

Google Bard in early access.
Image: Alphabet / The Latch

On February 6, Google Bard was plugged to the public for the first time, and the event was a complete car crash. This is because Google’s chatbot stated some incorrect facts about NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. It became just another machine that spreads misinformation. 

However, this disaster didn’t deter Google from its work on Bard. In fact, as of March 21, Google Bard is in early access. 

That’s right, Google Bard can now be used by select users in the US, the UK, or anyone with a decent VPN. However, there’s no news about if this early access programme will drop in Australia. Additionally, Google still hasn’t announced when Bard will be released. 

So, what are the reviews like for this chatbot? Well, Jame Vincent from The Verge got to demo it, and he wasn’t all that impressed. 

“Trying to extract factual information from Bard is hit-and-miss,” wrote Vincent. “Although the chatbot is connected to Google’s search results, it couldn’t fully answer a query on who gave the day’s White House press briefing.” 

“It was also unable to correctly answer a tricky question about the maximum load capacity of a specific washing machine, instead inventing three different but incorrect answers.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Google Bard doesn’t list its sources. Instead, this chatbot features a large “Google It” button that will take you to Google. This approach to combating misinformation seems fairly half-baked. 

Google Bard, just provide us the sources that inform your answers. Other chatbots like Perplexity AI do this. What exactly are you afraid of?

If you want to try and early access Google Bard for yourself, then a link to this chatbot’s right here.

Babes, Telstra Tower Is Getting a Makeover

Telstra Tower
Image: Getty Images

Telstra Tower is the most iconic grade six camp destination. Ever. That’s right, I said it. Telstra Tower is even better than our spicy Parliament House.

But, hold on, let’s not get distracted. Because we’re here to discuss the fact that Canberra’s Telstra Tower is getting an upgrade.

“Telstra, through its Telstra InfraCo business, wants to refresh this site and restore it,” said Telstra’s NSW and ACT Regional Manager, Chris Taylor.

“Our vision is for Telstra Tower to be an iconic, world-class venue that celebrates and embraces both the Ngunnawal culture and the role the tower has played in the history of telecommunications in Australia.”

This upgraded Telstra Tower may include dining facilities, market gardens, and attractions dedicated to First Nations history. It might also star bush tucker programmes and some other community events.

The ABC has been told that the improved Telstra Tower is aiming to open in 2025. However, Telstra has declined to comment on this.

Related: Huge — The ACT Will Cut Its Emissions By a Whopping 30%

Related: Dubai’s Skyline Could Soon Score a Moon-Shaped Resort

Who Is the Aussie Banksy Making Minions?

Warrak's minions
Image: Mountainside Wines / The Latch

In the small Victorian town of Warrak, a mysterious artist is on the loose. This is because, since December of 2022, someone has been making and concreting statues of the Minion characters from Despicable Me everywhere.

Some of these Minion statutes are items like letterboxes, while others are just pieces of art that slay. Fortunately, these artworks have been embraced by the Warrak community. 

“There are a lot of people talking that don’t usually talk,” said a local named Daniel Buckingham. “It’s good to see the community pull together just over someone that’s having a bit of a joke!”

However, as previously mentioned, nobody knows who this artist is. And they’re covering their tracks incredibly well. 

As Shane Goninon, the owner of Mountainside Wines, said, “There were some stills from a CCTV camera of two people putting one in, but one was dressed as Santa, so no one could recognise who it was. That’s the only time we’ve seen anyone do it.”

“They’re concreted in, very solid, it happens really quickly. Obviously, someone drills a hole, pours it in, and away they go.”

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