Google opens up public access to Bard chatbot in U.S. and U.K.

March 21, 2023 11:56 AM EDT

By Scott Kanowsky -- Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has opened access to Bard, its experimental generative artificial intelligence program that is seen as a major competitor to OpenAI's ChatGPT.

In a post, the Alphabet-owned tech giant touted Bard as a device that can help users boost productivity and "accelerate [...] ideas." The company said Bard can do everything from give advice on how to read more books to explain quantum physics in simple terms.

"We’ve learned a lot so far by testing Bard, and the next critical step in improving it is to get feedback from more people," said Google vice presidents Sissie Hsiao and Eli Collins on Tuesday.

Access to Bard will be rolled out from today on a first-come-first-served basis to users in the U.S. and U.K. who sign up on a waiting list, and will be expanded over time to include more countries and languages, they added.

Bard, which is powered by an optimized version of Google's LaMDA large language model, functions similarly to ChatGPT in that users can plug in prompts or questions and receive immediate answers.

However, both of these programs have raised eyebrows after recent testing found that they are prone to replying to queries with misleading or false information culled from the Internet. Hsiao and Collins acknowledged these worries, saying that large language models are "not without their faults."

"[B]ecause they learn from a wide range of information that reflects real-world biases and stereotypes, those sometimes show up in their outputs," they noted.

As a result, Bard will give users the choice of a number of different drafts of its response and will then be available to make changes based on follow-up questions.

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