Google has confirmed it will be launching its own artificial intelligence-powered chatbot in the wake of the success of rival service ChatGPT.
Bard will initially be available exclusively to a group of “trusted testers" before being widely released later this year, according to a blog post from Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.
Google claims its chatbot will be able to explain complex subjects such as outer space discoveries in terms simple enough for a child to understand.
It also says the service will perform other more mundane tasks, such as providing tips for planning a party, or lunch ideas based on what food is left in a refrigerator.
“Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity," Pichai wrote.
Google's announcement comes less than two weeks after Microsoft disclosed it's pouring billions of dollars into OpenAI, the San Francisco-based maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can write readable text and generate new images.
First launched late last year, ChatGPT has become an online sensation due to its ability to hold natural conversations but also to generate speeches, songs and essays.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool recently passed graduate level legal exams in America.
And, as a result, it has been banned from schools in New York and some Australian states - in the UK, the government and exam boards are in discussions about how to legislate against cheating.
It works a bit like typing a question into Google but instead of getting search results you get fully formed answers written in fluent English.
You can ask the tool to re-write the answer in a set number of words or in a more conversational tone - something that makes it especially tricky for teachers to detect if pupils have used it.
Although chatbot technology like this is not new, ChatGPT is rare in that it was made widely available for the public to use and experiment with.
Bard will use Google’s own conversational language tool, called Lamda, and crucially will use Google’s search engine to get the information it needs to create responses.
This could give Bard an edge over ChatGPT, which currently relies on a database based on the internet as it was in 2021.
A wide range of concerns have been raised over the spread of programmes such as ChatGPT and Bard, including fears that the technology could take human jobs, including in a range of writing professions.
The software having been used to create essays has also raised concerns about youngsters utilising such apps to carry out school and university assignments, while the ability of ChatGPT and others to identify and not spread misinformation has also been questioned.
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