Is Google’s search business threatened by its own creation, Bard?

Jul 29, 2023, 9:19 AM UTC
3 mins read
Is Google's search business threatened by its own creation, Bard?
(Image credit: Google)

In the era of artificial intelligence, chatbots have emerged as powerful tools, promising to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and access information. Google‘s chatbot, Bard, was introduced with great fanfare, sparking debates about its potential to challenge the dominance of traditional search engines. However, it soon faced scrutiny as users discovered that the information provided by Bard could be unreliable and, at times, completely fabricated.

In response to these concerns, Google’s UK boss, Debbie Weinstein, took a candid stance, acknowledging that Bard was not designed as a substitute for accurate and reliable search results. Instead, she positioned the chatbot as an “experiment,” best suited for collaborative problem-solving and idea generation. Encouraging users to utilize Google’s search engine to verify information obtained from Bard, Weinstein emphasized the need for critical thinking and independent fact-checking.

Bard’s homepage, to its credit, does acknowledge its “limitations and won’t always get it right.” However, it stops short of explicitly advising users to cross-verify results through orthodox search engines. This has raised questions about the responsibility of tech companies in promoting responsible AI usage and the importance of user education in discerning reliable information.

The emergence of chatbots, like Bard and ChatGPT, has ignited discussions about the wider implications of AI on the job market and even humanity’s future. While some fear that AI could disrupt traditional employment, fueling a global race for AI regulation, others argue that the apprehension is overblown. Google’s admission that Bard cannot be trusted for basic search tasks may further reinforce the latter perspective, suggesting that AI still has a long way to go before completely replacing human-driven search engines.

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On the economic front, leaders like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak see immense potential in AI. They envision AI as a gateway to new opportunities for individuals and businesses alike. However, a significant hurdle lies in the lack of knowledge and skills required to harness AI’s potential. Google’s report on the surge in search interest around AI-related topics in the UK emphasizes the need for accessible training resources to equip people and businesses with practical AI skills.

In response to the skills gap, Google is taking a proactive step by launching the New Fundamentals online training series. By offering free AI-focused courses, the tech giant aims to bridge the knowledge gap and empower individuals and businesses to reap the benefits of AI-driven innovations.

Beyond skill shortages, Google’s report also points out a critical lack of tech expertise across the UK. If unaddressed, this gap could hinder equitable nationwide growth, particularly as the demand for AI and other technology-driven expertise continues to soar. By addressing this issue head-on, Google strives to democratize access to AI knowledge, ensuring that no region or community is left behind in the digital revolution.

While the debate around AI’s impact rages on, it is essential to recognize the transformative potential of this technology when harnessed responsibly and ethically. Google’s emphasis on using its search engine to verify chatbot-generated information serves as a reminder of the importance of corroborating facts from reliable sources.

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