Google’s Bard AI has again been at the center of controversy, this time over allegations that rival Bing was trained using data taken from ChatGPT OpenAI.
As you may know, ChatGPT is the force behind the Bing AI throne, and the accusation of nefarious activities behind the scenes comes from a report by The Information (opens in a new tab).
We were told that Jacob Devlin, a software engineer at Google – a former engineer who left the company over the scandal – claims that Google used ChatGPT data (apparently scraped from the ShareGPT website) to develop Bard.
Devlin notes that he warned Google against doing this because it was clearly against OpenAI’s terms of service.
According to the report, Google stopped using said data after warnings from Devlin (who left Google to join OpenAI, we were informed).
However, Google denies this. company spokesman Chris Pappas said Edge (opens in a new tab): “Bard is not trained on any ShareGPT or ChatGPT data.”
Analysis: denial amid some desperation
So there we have it – a clear denial from Google, beyond any doubt, that there’s nothing sneaky going on with Bard in terms of data. And to be fair, there is certainly no evidence that Bard’s answers are even remotely similar to those given by ChatGPT. (Devlin further warned that the alleged data dusting could mean just that, and it would be obvious enough what happened as a result.)
We suppose the problem with this episode is that Google seems to have dropped Bard for release – dropping clangers in the process – as it was forced to catch up with Microsoft’s Bing AI. Given that the latter is already successfully moving search engine adoption to Bing at such an early stage, all of this may make it easier for some to believe that Google may be a little desperate for behind-the-scenes tactics.
Whether or not the story of the intercepted data is true – we take Google’s word for it not – the report still makes the interesting discovery that Google’s Brain AI group is now partnering with AI firm DeepMind (both exist under the Alphabet parent company umbrella).
Clearly, DeepMind was recruited into the mix to hone and buff Bard quickly, and that’s notable as the two AI outfits are big rivals and are very much forced to work together in this regard.
This again paints a picture of a rather desperate struggle to make Bard more stable on its feet, while Microsoft’s Bing AI is being updated with new features at a fairly old knot pace. (While recent rumors about one of the Bing chatbot’s potential next “features” made us very concerned, we have to admit that.)
You may also recall alarm bells on the privacy front when Bard himself revealed he was using Gmail’s internal data for training, prompting Google once again to tell us it wasn’t and that the bot had done something wrong. Bard’s bugs are obviously part of a bigger problem.