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Google shares lose more than $100 billion after Bard flubs answer in ad

Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) lost $100 billion in market value on Wednesday after its new chatbot shared inaccurate information in a promotional video and a company event failed to dazzle, feeding worries that the Google parent is losing ground to rival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

Google shares slipped on Wednesday after it published an online advertisement in which its much-anticipated AI chatbot Bard delivered an inaccurate answer.

The tech giant posted a short GIF video of Bard in action via Twitter, describing the chatbot as a ”launchpad for curiosity” that would help simplify complex topics, but it delivered an inaccurate answer that was spotted just hours before a launch event for Bard in Paris.

Shares of the Google’s parent Alphabet were down 7.8% in active trading, outpacing declines in the broader S&P 500, which was off by 1%. Rival Microsoft’s shares were marginally higher on the day.

In the advertisement, Bard is given the prompt: ”What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year old about?”

Bard responds with a number of answers, including one suggesting the JWST was used to take the very first pictures of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system, or exoplanets. This is inaccurate.

The first pictures of exoplanets were taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2004, as confirmed by NASA.

The error was spotted hours before Google hosted a launch event for Bard in Paris, where senior executive Prabhakar Raghavan promised that users would use the technology to interact with information in ”entirely new ways”.

Raghavan presented Bard on Wednesday as the future of the company, telling audience members that by using generative AI, ”the only limit to search will be your imagination”.

Google’s launch event came one day after Microsoft unveiled plans to integrate its rival AI chatbot ChatGPT into its Bing search engine and other products.

A Google spokesperson told Reuters: ”This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program.”

“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.”

At the time of writing, the ad had been viewed on Twitter more than a million times. News18

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