Google Bard chatbot
Released: February 2023
Bard is a so-called 'experimental conversational AI service' developed by Google that 'seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models.'
The service was announced by Google CEO Sandar Pillai on February 6, 2023 using a promotional video showing which satellite first took pictures of a planet outside the Earth's solar system, amongst other things.
According to Reuters, information in the promotional video was inaccurate. Given the prompt: 'What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) can I tell my 9-year old about?', Bart suggested the JWST was used to take the first pictures of a planet outside the Earth's solar system, or exoplanets. The first pictures of exoplanets were actually taken by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2004.
Microsoft and Open AI launched Bing's integration of ChatGPT the same day as Google launched Bard. However, the JWST mistake and OpenAI's perceived lead in large language models reinforced views that Google was moving too slowly, despite Microsoft's system also being found to be plagued by inaccuracies and untruths. Google owner Alphabet's stock price fell USD 100 billion in market value within hours.
Right-wing UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday accused Bard of left-wing bias after saying the UK's exit from the European Union a 'bad idea' and that the country 'would have been better off' staying in the EU. It also told the newspaper 'I believe Corbyn has the potential to be a great leader.' Jeremy Corbyn resigned as Labour Party leader in 2019.
Political orientation analysis of Bard and other large language models by academic David Rozardo concluded it exhibited a left-leaning political stance which, he suggests, may be because it was trained on Wikipedia, news media, social media and academic content.
A July 2023 Checkpoint Research study of Bard and ChatGPT's ability to generate phishing emails, malware keyloggers, and basic ransomware code concluded that 'Bard’s anti-abuse restrictors in the realm of cybersecurity are significantly lower compared to those of ChatGPT. Consequently, it is much easier to generate malicious content using Bard’s capabilities.'
Reuters reports that Google advised it's employees to refrain from entering confidential information into chatbots for fear of leaks, including it's own Bard chatbot. Google was reportedly concerned with that employees may input sensitive information that can be shared with human reviewers. Chatbots may also use previous entries to train themselves, which poses another leak risk.
In July 2023, eight individuals sued Google, DeepMind and their parent company Alphabet for 'secretly stealing' huge amounts of online data to train its AI technologies, including Bard. Led by Clarkson Law Firm, Google is accused of negligence, larceny, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, and profiting from illegally obtained personal data.
In September 2023, it was discovered that Google Search had started showing user conversations with its Bard chatbot in its search results, raising concerns about loss of privacy and confidentiality and the nature and effectiveness of Google's security.
Checkpoint Research (2023). Lowering the Bar(d)? Check Point Research’s security analysis spurs concerns over Google Bard’s limitations