- Alphabet believes that generative AI technology is still in its early stages of development.
- They doubt that the technology is ready to be marketed to the general public and say that it still needs a couple of years of development.
- These reasons could be behind the company’s timidity in launching Bard, ChatGPT’s competitor.
Earlier this week, Google parent Alphabet CEO John Hennessy revealed that the board is hesitant about generative AI. Since the ChatGPT tool became a sensation among the public, the pressure on the tech company has grown. However, the company still has doubts about the maturity of this type of product.
In other words, ChatGPT forced Google to take a step it would not have wanted to take when it announced the launch of its competitive version, Bard. The company fears that such tools are not yet ready to be launched as products. As a result, they could be harmful and unreliable for the answers the public expects. In their opinion, the margin of error is high and this could have a negative impact on society.
Although the company has a technology similar to ChatGPT, the president believes that they did not see fit to launch it. “I think Google was hesitant to produce this because they didn’t think it was really ready for a product yet. But I think, as a demonstration vehicle, it’s a great piece of technology,” he said as quoted on CNBC.
Alphabet’s board keeps doubts
Although Alphabet announced the launch of its own generative AI tool, its board is not entirely convinced. Hennessy claims that the technology is only in its early stages and it will take one or two years to become human-readable. In his view, such technologies cannot now be considered as useful tools for the broad public.
It should be taken into account the fact that ChatGPT is considered a real phenomenon which has whetted the appetites of investors. Analysts do not hesitate to give their predictions about the future of this technology and how it will affect the lives of millions of people. Many highlight the fact that this is the first time in history that a technology threatens to affect the jobs of advanced professionals. Some educational institutes are even forcing students to do paper and pencil work to prevent them from taking advantage of AI.
AI is capable of generating simple and complex texts, which is viewed with suspicion by thousands of people. From writing newspaper articles to creating works of art and approving even the most complex professional careers. It is a tool that generates excitement and intrigue and, judging by Hennessy’s words, it could be better.
The Alphabet executive expects Bard, that company’s version of generative AI, to be much more advanced in a few years. This means that they want to launch a quality product with no margin for error that will not lead to problems for the society that uses them. Hence, the company has been hesitant to announce or get ahead of its rivals’ progress in this area.
Another of the company’s reasons for maintaining doubts is that Google is one of the most widely used products worldwide. That explains why the company could be doomed with an inaccurate tool. The firm’s president says that some platforms such as search or Youtube commonly give incorrect answers or results.
Considering the track record of these services, presumably Bard, being newer, would also be plagued with incorrect answers. Such a product could mean millions of people turning away from the company. “You don’t want to put out a system that says the wrong things or sometimes says toxic things,” Hennessy stressed.
With these statements, the entrepreneur reinforced the words of Google CEO Sundar Pichay last December. At that time, he was criticized for the firm’s passivity in responding to the competition’s advances. The CEO responded that the technology industry is obliged to be “a little more careful about the situation we create in civil society.”
On the other hand, Alphabet’s top executive did not comment on the reaction of investors to the launch of Bard. From the financial sector, the firm’s reaction was seen as late and lagging behind its rivals, which led to a massive sell-off of shares. Now, equity holders are wondering whether it is worth holding Alphabet’s shares in the face of the better prospects of its competitors.
Impressed with ChatGPT
But what did merit the company’s CEO’s words was the state of development of the tool sponsored by rivals Microsoft. Hennessy said he was “impressed” with the level of ChatGPT and said he expected it to be of lower quality. He stressed that the tool’s natural language is of an extremely high standard, considering that it is a very new technology.
“I’m impressed with two things: first, the quality of the natural language capability both to interpret a query and to answer something: the generative function. I’m impressed that it manages, at least at a fairly superficial level, to get a lot of things right,” he said.
The entrepreneur hinted that the Alphabet board has a lot to show. At the other extreme, he highlighted the fact that the macroeconomic situation is becoming a real ordeal for many workers. Nevertheless, it creates great opportunities for competition and for varied technological development.
He said that waves of layoffs by tech companies allow startups to absorb that talent to develop new breakthroughs. “One of the best things about [Silicon] Valley is that you can’t rest on your laurels because a new company will come along and really give you a run for your money,” he noted.
The high-interest-rate economy prompted companies in the sector to announce extensive job cuts. Layoffs numbered in the tens of thousands, many of them highly experienced, which could see the power flow from large companies to smaller ones with better ideas.
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