Google Loses $100 Billion After Rushing Out Flawed AI

Google Loses $100 Billion After Rushing Out Flawed AI

( – After years of steady growth, big tech companies are running into financial trouble. All of the industry’s giants have announced major job cuts over the last few months, with over 95,000 staff laid off since New Year, and some analysts predict as many as 900,000 more jobs could go this year. Unsurprisingly, tech firms are looking for new technologies to regain their momentum, and the big hope right now is Artificial Intelligence. Google recently tried to launch its own AI chatbot — but got it disastrously wrong.

Big Tech’s Challenge

The pandemic gave tech firms a huge boost, but as life returns to normal they’re realizing that they took it for granted and expanded too fast; now demand for their services is settling back to normal levels, and companies are being forced to lay off tens of thousands of employees as the new economic reality starts to bite. In an effort to turn the situation around, many companies are looking at AI as a potential Next Big Thing.

AI isn’t a new idea, but the recent success of the ChatGPT app has suddenly catapulted it into the mainstream. Now, thousands of people are using the online intelligence to write articles, essays, and even song lyrics. ChatGPT has gained a lot of media attention and is incredibly popular — the website is regularly overloaded by the massive demand for AI-generated text.

The problem with ChatGPT for the tech giants is that none of them developed it. In fact, it’s the brainchild of a small San Francisco-based company, OpenAI Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of the nonprofit OpenAI. Although it employs just 375 people and mostly runs on donations, OpenAI has managed to get ahead of the big tech companies — and they don’t like it. In particular, Google doesn’t like it, and the reason is simple. The tech giant’s business is built on its search engine, and an AI-enhanced search engine could quickly make Google’s obsolete.

Google Enters The Ring

When ChatGPT launched last November, Google CEO Sundar Pichai immediately reassigned several teams to work on a competitor. On February 6, Google proudly announced its own AI chatbot, named Bard, and immediately released it to a small group of “trusted testers.” Bard’s public release was scheduled for the end of the month.

Unfortunately for Google, it turns out Bard wasn’t quite ready for prime time — either that or it was artificially not very intelligent. A February 8 livestream showed off the AI’s ability to answer questions about NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, but alert viewers pointed out that the advanced new tool had got one of the answers wrong. Bard told the questioner that the James Webb satellite was the first to take pictures of a planet outside our solar system, but the European Space Agency’s Very Large Telescope did this in 2004, 17 years before the James Webb device was even launched.

Partly because of this error, the Bard demo was widely slammed as “underwhelming,” and Google’s YouTube video of the livestream was quickly made private. This rapidly turned serious — because, the day before, Microsoft announced it was partnering with OpenAI to build a new, even more powerful version of ChatGPT into its rival Bing search engine. Google’s nightmare scenario of an artificially intelligent search engine had arrived, and now the Bard demo showed the company was already lagging behind its biggest competitor.

The market reaction was swift and brutal, with Google stock quickly falling 8% — wiping $100 billion off the company’s value. It’s now heading for its worst financial performance in months, and unless it can make Bard a lot smarter in a hurry, there could be much worse to come.

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