Google search chief issues warning on AI chatbots

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Prabhakar Raghavan, the search chief at Google, has warned against relying on AI chatbots to always produce accurate information.

In an interview with German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag, Raghavan stated that AI chatbots can sometimes provide false yet convincing answers, a phenomenon he referred to as "hallucination".

"This is then expressed in such a way that a machine provides a convincing but completely fictitious answer," he said. Despite these concerns, Google recently unveiled its AI chatbot, Bard, which it hopes will rival ChatGPT.

However, the launch of Bard was not without controversy. An advertisement for the chatbot showed it providing an inaccurate answer to a question about the James Webb Space Telescope, leading to a sharp drop in Alphabet's stock price and increased concerns about ChatGPT's threat to Google's search dominance.

In response to these criticisms, Raghavan emphasised that Google feels a "great responsibility" in the release of Bard to the public and doesn't want to mislead the public. He also added that the company is considering how to integrate AI chatbots into its search functions, especially for questions with multiple answers.

The comments from Raghavan come after former research engineer Maarten Bosma at Alphabet's AI division, Google Brain, criticised the "rushed" and "botched" launch of Bard and stated that the presentation showed the company wasn't taking AI seriously enough.

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