GOOGLE’S MISSED OPPORTUNITY IN AI
Google has had a rough six months, failing to establish its AI credentials despite being a leader in AI research. The company’s chatbot, Bard, compares poorly to rivals, and insider reports portray a company in panic and disarray. Google needs to convince the public and shareholders at its annual I/O conference that it has a meaningful response.
AI art and tools increasingly define the current cultural moment, defining a sense of exploration, experimentation, and chaotic fun. The outputs of these systems contribute to the sense of a roiling, protean technological ecosystem of change, experimentation, and cultural significance. A tide that Google has completely missed, exemplified best by its work in AI language models and its chatbot Bard, compared to Microsoft’s rival Bing.
BARD VS. BING
Today, talking to Bard feels like being trapped in an AI daycare. The system is polite but offers insufferably bland answers. Bing, by comparison, feels like the sidekick that helps you escape daycare, with its unpredictable edge to its answers, creating the illusion of personality and encouraging conversation rather than shutting it down. This difference can be seen in basic UI choices for the two chatbots.
While Bard has been idling along, Microsoft has been rapidly iterating, stuffing chatbots into more and more of its products, and rushing out new features for Bing, experimenting and at least in tune with the moment.
THE ANSWER FOR GOOGLE
Personally, I don’t think chatbots in their current form are a good replacement for search. At I/O, Google needs to prove that it at least sees the potential—the excitement—of this technology. Instead of empty chatter, let’s see what the humans can actually make.
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