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Google's AI chat bot wiped $100 billion off company's value after answering question wrong

Google's AI chat bot wiped $100 billion off company's value after answering question wrong

This is one costly mistake...

The mishap in Google’s new AI service has cost the company billions of dollars…ouch!

Google was showing off its new fancy AI service - named Bard - on Twitter with a little demonstration of how it works.

But a factual blunder saw the company’s value shoot down…someone’s got some explaining to do!

The AI service presented incorrect information as a fact.

The post explained: “Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA.

“Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics.”

You can see the service in action - and getting it wrong - here:

It also shared a gif, which showed someone asking Bard: “What new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9-year-old about?”

Which prompted several responses from the AI service, including: “In 2023, the JWST spotted a number of galaxies nicknamed ‘green peas’.

“They were given this name because they are small, round, and green, like peas.”

And the fact that the telescope also captured images of galaxies that are 'over 13 billion years old.’

However, the last item on the short list was factually inaccurate, seemingly showing a flaw with the AI’s capabilities.

The ‘fact’ read: “JWSR took the very pictures of a planet outside of our own solar system. These distant worlds are called ‘exoplanets’.

“Exo means ‘from outside.’”

We’re not quite sure that’s totally accurate…!

Getty/ rbkomar

Because according to NASA, the first image taken of a planet outside of our own solar system was actually snapped back in 2004 by the, wonderfully named, European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

As you can imagine, the mistake didn’t go unnoticed by Twitter users, with Grant Tremblay from the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics writing: “I’m sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take ‘the very first image of a planet outside our solar system’.

“The first image was instead done by Chauvin et al. (2004) with the VLT/NACO using adaptive optics.”

Bruce Macintosh, the director of the University of California Observatories and part of the team that took the first images of exoplanets, also spotted the mistake.

In a post, he wrote: “Speaking as someone who imaged an exoplanet 14 years before JWST was launched, it feels like you should find a better example?”

Shortly after the tweet was posted, Google’s parent company Alphabet saw its share price fall around eight percent - knocking off around $100 billion (£82,466,000,000) off its market value, according to Forbes.

A spokesperson from Google told the outlet: “This highlights the importance of a rigorous testing process, something that we’re kicking off this week.”

Better late than never, I guess.

Featured Image Credit: Smith Collection/Gado / Contributor/Yuichiro Chino