Google didn't believe Bard AI was 'really ready' for a product yet

Google Bard logo on cellphone, in front of Google Alphabet Inc stock drop on computer screen
(Image credit: NurPhoto / Contributor/Getty Images)

Google's preview of its experimental AI chatbot Bard hit a snag after a factual error in a promo ad led to a drop in its parent company's market share. In a recent interview with CNBC, parent company Alphabet's Chair John Hennessy admitted that the technology is not product-ready yet.

Last week, Google launched Bard in response to the viral popularity of rival chatbot ChatGPT from start-up company OpenAI. The Paris reveal event happened a day before Microsoft announced it was integrating ChatGPT into Bing's search engine. At the reveal, Bard showed an incorrect response to a question about NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, leading to a 9 percent drop in Alphabet's stock. Google employees also chimed in, criticizing CEO Sundar Pichai while referring to the presentation as "rushed" and "botched."

Although Bard was already in development, Hennessy believes that "Google was hesitant to productize this because it didn't think it was really ready for a product yet," per his interview with CNBC. He explained that part of Google's hesitance to debut it's AI chat competitor was because it was still providing wrong information in response to queries.

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"You don't want to put a system out that either says wrong things or sometimes says toxic things," Hennessy said during the conference. Hennessy also warned that generative AI technology is in the early stages of development and is still "one to two years away from being a truly useful tool for the broader public." CNBC writes.

"I think these models are still in the early days — figuring out how to bring them into a product stream and do it in a way that's sensitive to correctness, as well as issues like toxicity," Hennessey told CNBC. "I think the industry is struggling with that."

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