Billions lost in value after Google’s ChatGPT AI rival made a mistake

Google’s shares took a 9% nose dive following the news its AI chatbot Bard gave inaccurate answers in a promotional video posted on Twitter and shown during a live press event equivalent to more than a $100 billion loss in market value.

Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) shares plunged nearly 9% following the news its AI chatbot Bard gave inaccurate answers in a promotional video that was presented as a demonstration of its abilities during a live press conference Wednesday. The promo video had also been posted on Twitter at least 48 hours before the event.

Almost a million users have now seen the video and the ChatGPT rival’s mistake, which was initially discovered by Reuters.

As if Bard’s online blunder wasn’t enough of a blow, the company’s hyped-up press conference, “Google: Live from Paris,” was abruptly cut short after the inaccurate search results were presented, leaving viewers in the lurch.

The live streaming YouTube event was expected to wow the public with more detailed information about Bard, as well as other Google AI innovation reveals.

Google's response to the fiasco seemed restrained at best, considering the search faux pax cost Google roughly $120 billion in reduced market value in less than 24 hours, while Microsoft shares jumped 3%.

"This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we're kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program," a Google 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."

There has been a flurry of AI chatbot reveals this week, leading to speculation Google rushed to get Bard out to the public in an effort to show up its main competitor, Microsoft's ChatGPT.

Google had announced the Paris live event the previous week, but surprisingly made what seemed like a rushed announcement introducing a test version of “Bard to the public Monday afternoon.

The conversational AI chatbot is expected to become an integrated part of the Google search function and be released to the public after testing in a few weeks.

Introducing Bard
Google introduces AI chatbot Bard. Image by Google.

Moments after the Bard introduction Monday, Microsoft made its own formal announcement to incorporate its AI chatbot darling, ChatGPT, into its Bing search engine and Edge browser, intensifying the AI competition between the two.

"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 at D.A. Davidson. "Google has been scrambling over the last few weeks to catch up on Search and that caused the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) to be rushed and the embarrassing mess up of posting a wrong answer during their demo."

ChatGPT developer, Open AI, released its chatbot in November to rave reviews among both technology and public forums. It has over 100 million users to date.

Last month, Microsoft partnered up with Open AI pledging $10 billion in seed money to help expand their AI program.

The Bard search error was realized by Google just before the presentation began.

During Google's GIF animation ad, demonstrating how Bard works, a user types in the search query “what new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about?”

Bard provided three detailed answers to the question but unfortunately for Google, it turns out the third answer is incorrect.

Bard incorrect repy, "JWST took the very first pictures outside of our own solar system."

The correct answer is: the first picture ever taken of a planet outside our solar system was by astronomers using the Very Large Telescope located in northern Chile, confirmed by NASA.

Google AI's mistake cost it billions in value. Image by Google. Bard promo mistake
Google AI's mistake cost it billions in value. Image by Google.

Ironically, when talking about the development of Google’s search function over the past 25 years, Google's presenter made the claim that “the perfect search remains elusive.”

The Quora app and China’s Google equivalent, Baidu, also got into the mix this week, introducing their own rival AI chatbots “Poe” and “Ernie Bot.”

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