Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, lost $100 billion in market value after its new chatbot Bard shared inaccurate information in a promotional video, worrying that the company is losing ground to rival Microsoft Corp.
Shares of Alphabet plunged as much as 9 per cent during Wednesday’s trading session, but rose slightly to settle at 7.68 per cent lower. Alphabet’s stock, which had lost 40 per cent in value last year, has rallied 15 per cent since the beginning of 2023.
The sharp drop in share value came after news agency Reuters pointed out an error in Google’s advertisement for its new chatbot Bard, which made its debut on Monday.
Google has been working round the clock to release Bard after OpenAI, a Microsoft-backed startup, introduced ChatGPT in November. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that has taken the tech world by storm for its human-like responses.
Bard’s error was discovered moments before Google’s presentation on the new AI chatbot. Alphabet had posted a short GIF video of Bard in action on Twitter, promising that it would help simplify complex topics.
However, it ended up giving an inaccurate answer, which triggered a sharp drop in its market value.
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?" To this, Bard responded with a number of answers, including one suggesting that JWST was used to take the very first pictures of a planet outside the Earth’s solar system, or exoplanets.
However, NASA confirmed that the first pictures of exoplanets were taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in 2004.
A Google spokesperson said, “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we're kicking off this week with our Trusted Tester program," a Google spokesperson said. "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."
Google live-streamed a presentation on its new AI chatbot recently, but it did not include details about how and when it would integrate Bard into its core search function.
Just a day before Google’s presentation, Microsoft held an event to announce that it had already released a version of its Bing search with ChatGPT functions integrated. Besides the error, the fact that Microsoft remains a step ahead of Google in the AI chatbot race also impacted Alphabet’s share price.
Gil Luria, senior software analyst at DA Davidson told news agency Reuters that while Google has been a leader in AI innovation for several years, they “seemed to have fallen asleep” on implementing this technology into their search product.
"Google has been scrambling over the last few weeks to catch up on Search and that caused the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) to be rushed and the embarrassing mess up of posting a wrong answer during their demo,” Luria told the news agency.
While shares of Google’s parent company tumbled, Microsoft rose around 3 per cent on Wednesday and settled flat in post-market trading.
Source: India Today