The world of AI continues to roil. Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, probably stung by the success of the Microsoft backed Open AI ChatGPT, laid down his own gauntlet on Monday by launching a new AI product called Bard. 

According to Pichai, Google has been using their own Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) for more than two years to create Bard and it is now to the point that it can be made available to “trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.” No mention as to how the success of ChatGPT moved up the timeline for the release of Bard but recent layoffs at Google and the poor earning reports Alphabet released last week points to some desperation.

Google has had LaMDA for a bit but has held back from releasing it to the public. It is hard to understand why, but it  seems likely to be driven by the push back they are already getting from using a website’s content in an “answer box” (something very similar to what people accuse DALL-E of) and with the anxiety around publishing disinformation, given the fact that ChatGPT will confidently lie to you. But its circumspection about entering the space has put it behind ChatGPT. Now they are trying to remind everyone that they invented the technology that ChatGPT is based on and prove their tool is better. As of today the main difference that is being expressed between Bard and ChatGPT is that Bard uses real time data from the internet to inform their AI. 

The lack of up to date information in ChatGPT was one of the drawbacks listed in our article last week. Google has the advantage of massive and constantly updating libraries of information that it can leverage. But if something like this really can replace search, how will news sites react? Will having their data constantly crawled by Google ultimately lead to their content being sucked up and repurposed without any traffic or ad revenue. How will they stay in business?

The current plan is for Google to eventually release a sort of “Bard lite” that the public can use free of charge, but they have given no date or anything concrete, so at this point it is still vaporware.

ChatGPT is still very much in the fight. Today Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced new ChatGPT features for Bing, While Bing is sometimes a joke in the “more online” sections of the internet, Microsoft’s search engine as well as the Edge browser hold a lot of market share in corporate offices as well as classrooms. Bringing ChatGPT to both with a “try it”  button on its homepage will expose a lot of people who still have just interacted with it by reading articles. Once you are there, the new Bing gives answers written by ChatGPT. There is a limit on how many times you can try and it is slow but it is recognizably ChatGPT.

We aren’t sure how any of this might affect the ability of students to create essays that escape any “AI detection” software is still up in the air, but the more competitors that exist, the more likely it will be possible to get away with. After all, ChatGPT passed a Google coding interview already, is it impossible that chatbots will be able to pass school tests or even the SAT.

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