Google's ChatGPT rival 'Bard' is now in early access


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The big picture: AI has been a topic of interest within the tech industry for several years, but the general population didn't get its first real taste of the technology until deep learning models like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney launched with the ability to generate strikingly lifelike images from text inputs. However, people truly grasped the power of AI last November when OpenAI launched ChatGPT to the public. While Google has been late to the AI game, many believe that Bard could be the only real competitor to ChatGPT in the near future.

Google has opened public access to its conversational AI chatbot, Bard. The move comes a month and a half after the company unveiled the service and rolled it out to a handful of beta testers. With this week's wider rollout, users in the US and the UK will now be able to join a waitlist to check out its features and assess its abilities.

Google said Bard can not only be used to boost productivity, but should also help users with new ideas on a wide variety of topics, thereby fueling their creativity.

Unlike ChatGPT, Bard can't write or debug code, although Google says it would soon get that ability. The company also said that it plans to add other capabilities to Bard in the near future including support for more languages and multimodal experiences.

According to the company, "You might ask Bard to give you tips to reach your goal of reading more books this year, explain quantum physics in simple terms or spark your creativity by outlining a blog post."

Google also warned that Bard is an experimental project that could "display inaccurate or offensive information that doesn't represent Google's views." The disclaimer is similar to the ones offered by OpenAI for ChatGPT, which has gone off the rails on multiple occasions since its public release last year.

Bard is widely seen as Google's answer to OpenAI's ChatGPT that has taken the world by storm. It is powered by the company's existing Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) platform and is expected to be integrated into Google search to offer users an alternative to the new ChatGPT-infused Bing.

According to Google, Bard is designed as a complementary experience to Google Search, and would allow users to find answers on the web rather than offering an outright authoritative answer, unlike ChatGPT. Once a question is asked, Bard will show three different answers, and users will be able to search each answer on Google for more information.

Google also said its AI research is guided by ethics and principals that focus on public safety. According to the company's blog post, "We're using human feedback and evaluation to improve our systems, and we've also built in guardrails, like capping the number of exchanges in a dialogue, to try to keep interactions helpful and on topic."

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