Google CEO Sundar Pichai has responded to criticism of the company’s experimental AI chatbot, Bard, by promising to upgrade Bard to a more capable PaLM model.
Bard is an “experimental conversational AI service” released by Google in the UK and the US. However, users found the responses less knowledgeable and detailed than those from OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat, also powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4. In response, Pichai confirmed on The New York Times podcast “Hard Fork” that Bard will move from its current LaMDA-based model to the large PaLM dataset in the next few days.
Pichai explained that it was small when Bard debuted in February because the AI model relied on LaMDA to give more users a chance to try it out and provide feedback. As such, Pichai said he’s not worried about how fast Google’s AI will develop compared to its competitors. He also pledged that Google would conduct its analysis of Bard’s safety and quality, given real-world information.
However, this sentiment was challenged by over 1,800 people, including technology leaders and AI researchers, who signed an open letter calling for a moratorium on the development of AI technologies “more powerful than GPT-4” for at least six months. Pichai agrees that guidance is needed and that the government must be involved in developing these technologies.
Despite the criticism, Pichai remains optimistic about Bard’s future, saying that Google “doesn’t want to release a more capable model before we’re sure we’re good enough.” He emphasized that it’s not about who’s there first but getting it right. Pichai also assured that the new PaLM model would bring more capabilities to Bard, such as inference and coding.
It is clear that the development of AI technology is still in its early stages, and companies must be careful to ensure their AI models are safe and reliable before releasing them. The controversy surrounding Bard‘s initial release highlights the importance of thorough testing and analysis to ensure that AI models can meet the high expectations of consumers and researchers alike.