Google shares fall sharply after AI chatbot’s debut stalled

Shares of Google parent Alphabet fell more than 8 percent on Wednesday, stripping billions of dollars from their market value after a failure at an artificial intelligence demonstration on the same day an event was held to announce the integration of the technology , had attracted a lot of attention in its search and mapping tools.

Earlier this week, Google announced it was launching its own chatbot, called Bard, to make up ground it lost to competitor ChatGPT. However, experts pointed out that Bard made a factual error in the first video demo of the product online.

An animation shared by Google showed Bard answering a question about new discoveries made by the James Webb Space Telescope, saying it had “taken the first-ever pictures of a planet outside our own solar system.”

Astronomers said this was wrong, and highlighted a bigger problem with AI-powered search, known as large language models: that they can confidently make factual errors and spread misinformation. One astronomer pointed out that the problem could be due to the AI ​​misreading “ambiguous press releases from Nasa that downplay the past.”

During the event in Paris on Wednesday, Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan announced incremental new product features including image-based search and interactive 3D models of some cities including London and Los Angeles, rather than the broader advances some had hoped for from the see search giants.

The announcement came in contrast to competitor Microsoft’s unveiling on Tuesday of a new version of its Bing search engine that included AI advances including aggregating responses to search queries and generating emails and lists, sparking what CEO Satya Nadella to revamp online search dubbed a “race” to Google.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nadella said the advent of AI technologies means search gross margin “will decline forever.”

“There’s such latitude in the search that for us is incremental. It’s not for Google, they have to defend everything,” Nadella added. He described the competition against Google as “asymmetric”.

Since the recent launch of ChatGPT, which provides text answers to complex questions directly rather than requiring the use of a traditional search engine, Google has been scrambling to keep up with embedding AI technologies into its consumer products. Despite its recent announcements, it has yet to launch any technology.

Google reported that its advertising revenue fell 4 percent in the last quarter of last year, marking only the second quarterly decline in its history.

https://www.ft.com/content/2fe6163b-b4c3-413e-b595-8110e328b42d Google shares fall sharply after AI chatbot’s debut stalled

Adam Bradshaw

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