Google Unveils AI Chatbot Bard in the EU, Brazil and More

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Thursday marked Google's launch of its AI chatbot Bard in Brazil, the European Union, and an array of other countries, as the company disclosed novel attributes in its endeavor to match Microsoft's ChatGPT. The tech titan from the United States had initially presented Bard to the world in February, but its rollout in the European Union was postponed in light of the bloc's impending AI regulations due to growing concerns about the potential risks of this fast-evolving technology.

In its race against time, Google has strived to bridge the gap with its competitor, Microsoft, which has been actively embedding ChatGPT-like functionalities in a broad spectrum of its offerings, notably the Bing search engine.

Bard, as per a blog post by product lead Jack Krawczyk and vice president Amarnag Subramanya, is "presently accessible in most regions globally and supports the majority of commonly spoken languages". They highlighted the company's proactive engagement with policymakers, experts, and privacy regulators in relation to this expansion as part of their "courageous yet cautious approach to AI".

In Google's drive to extend Bard's accessibility, they affirmed their commitment to integrating user feedback and ensuring protection of users' privacy and data. Bard now accommodates more than 40 languages, a leap from the previous three – English, Korean, and Japanese – including German, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, and Chinese among others.

The introduction of fresh features was another highlight, encompassing audio responses from Bard, and answers presented in five distinct styles: professional, casual, simple, short, and long. Another innovative addition allows users to submit photos for Bard's analysis.

The advent of AI has fueled anticipation and anxiety alike regarding its capacity to augment or replace human-driven tasks. Recently, AI tools have demonstrated proficiency in essay writing, generating realistic images, impersonating well-known singers' voices, and even acing medical examinations.

However, potential risks abound, with concerns including the possibility of chatbots disseminating false information, prejudiced algorithms propagating discriminatory content, or AI-fueled automation obliterating entire industries.

Industry leaders and experts, including OpenAI's Sam Altman, creator of ChatGPT, have expressed apprehensions about the existential threat AI may pose to humanity. In May, Altman and numerous other specialists signed a declaration, calling upon global leaders to mitigate the extinction risk posed by AI.

However, these warnings have done little to impede the swift progress of AI. In a recent development, Elon Musk, owner of Twitter and Tesla and a vocal critic of AI risks, launched an AI firm named xAI on Wednesday.

According to xAI's website, while Musk would manage the company independently of his other enterprises, the technology developed would serve to enhance his other businesses, including Twitter.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament recently endorsed a draft law that will lay the groundwork for the world's most extensive regulations governing AI. This includes specific conditions for generative AI systems, such as Dall-E and ChatGPT, capable of producing various media including images and text.

Negotiations on this regulation will occur between the EU's member states and the parliament before it receives approval. The bloc is eager to reach an agreement by the year's end, and the rules mandate the disclosure of AI-generated content while prohibiting certain AI applications, including real-time facial recognition systems.

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