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Meet Bard by Google

1 October 2023
Waseem Khalil

In the swiftly evolving realm of artificial intelligence, Bard transcends being just another search engine; it serves as an experimental system that showcases the diverse applications of chatbots. It excels in a wide range of tasks, including generating creative ideas, crafting blog posts, and providing factual or opinion-based answers to questions. This adaptability sets it apart from conventional search engines and underscores its potential to enhance productivity and creativity.

Bard is built upon the foundation of the Pathways Language Model (PaLM), an extensive language-based model containing over 540 billion parameters. It underwent training using a comprehensive dataset encompassing web pages, Wikipedia articles, books, news articles, source code from open-source databases, and social media conversations.


I. Occasional Uses and Diverse Capabilities at No Cost

·  All are available within a unified interface: Bard now provides the capability to summarize Gmail emails, search Google Docs, and check airfares, all without necessitating users to exit its interface.

·  It seamlessly incorporates YouTube videos, Google Doc links, and email summaries into its responses. This integration simplifies user access and content management from Google products.

·  The process of summarizing articles in PDFs is made effortless by simply uploading them to a website, which generates a URL for the PDF—no need to install any plugins.

·  The "Help me write" button, integrated into Gmail, assists users in generating initial email drafts through Prompts. It also facilitates the refinement of existing email drafts. This initiative aims to broaden the adoption of generative AI tools like Bard and encourage users to embrace and subscribe to them.

·  Robust programming capabilities: Bard supports over 20 programming languages, offering invaluable assistance to programmers in code generation and debugging.


II. Varied Responses and Comprehensive Information

Bard's ability to generate a wide range of responses to the same prompt highlights its adaptability, ensuring that users receive diverse answers that enhance their interactions. However, this advantage can occasionally become a drawback when inconsistencies arise in the responses provided by the tool.


Furthermore, integrating with Google's web index significantly enhances its ability to provide current and reliable information. One noteworthy feature within Bard is the option for users to verify answers through Google Search. Upon entering a query, users can click the "Google It" button to compare Bard's response with Google search results. Bard then highlights any potentially incorrect parts of its output. While this feature is valuable in reducing errors, it also underscores the occasional unreliability of Bard's responses.


III. Selective Knowledge and Prudent Restraint

In its pursuit of precision, Bard may refrain from responding to inquiries concerning specific individuals or topics when lacking sufficient information. This cautious approach is relevant in sensitive domains such as medicine, law, or finance. By refraining from providing potentially inaccurate information, Bard strives to shield users from misinformation and unreliable guidance.


IV. Acknowledgment of Imperfections

In the realm of AI models, acknowledging errors and taking responsibility for the information they provide is of paramount importance. In 2023, Bard's ability to recognize mistakes sets a commendable precedent within the industry. This acknowledgment underscores the significance of user feedback as a means for continuous improvement. Unlike specific competitors, Bard is dedicated to learning from its missteps and evolving, thus solidifying its reputation as a more dependable tool for users.


Drawbacks of the current version- October 2023:

1. Data Reliability - A potential concern lingers regarding data reliability, given that the dataset used for model training may still contain biased information.

2. Contextual Understanding - In its current stage of development, the tool needs to consistently grasp the context of questions, occasionally resulting in the generation of irrelevant responses.

3. Limited Creativity - The tool's creative capabilities are somewhat restricted, often producing works reminiscent of previous creations. Unlike GPT-4, this tool lacks the option for users to specify desired innovative styles, such as more fictional or adventurous scripts. Additionally, it faces challenges when composing lengthy articles, generating extensive content, intricate graphics, or highly detailed code.

4. Source Specification - Unlike Bing Chat, Google Bard does not list its information sources or offer links to those sources. A "Google It" button has been integrated into the tool to address this concern, allowing users to cross-reference answers using Google search.


Despite these limitations, it is crucial to remember that Google is committed to enhancing the tool's capabilities and accuracy to remain competitive with major players in the market, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT. While the tool initially introduced less advanced artificial intelligence, continuous improvements position it as a significant contender in this field. Furthermore, the integration of the tool with other Google services, such as Gmail and YouTube, has the potential to make it an indispensable component of many users' daily lives.


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