Google’s Bard experiment, and Ernie Bot’s rehabilitation

Google has launched Bard, the search giant’s answer to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing Chat. Unlike Bing Chat, Bard does not look up search results—all the information it returns is generated by the model itself. But it is still designed to help users brainstorm and answer queries. Google wants Bard to become an integral part of the Google Search experience.

The company is now making the chatbot available for free to early users who sign up to a waitlist, to help test and improve the technology in what they say is still an experiment. 

But experts worry that pitching Bard as an experiment is a PR trick that larger companies use to reach millions of customers while also removing themselves from accountability if anything goes wrong. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven

The bearable mediocrity of Baidu’s ChatGPT competitor

When Baidu revealed Ernie Bot last week, the first Chinese rival to ChatGPT was met with an almost overwhelming wave of disappointment. Chinese publications with testing access ridiculed the chatbot’s performance, social media users mocked it with memes, and Baidu’s stock dropped by 6.4%.

But a curious thing has happened since last week’s launch: Ernie Bot’s reputation seems to have bounced back. More Chinese reporters gained access to the chatbot, and there’s been a general realization that Ernie Bot is probably good enough for the Chinese market. Read the full story.

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