Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company's Bard AI chatbot will be upgraded soon.
Pichai said he understands the concerns people have, but remains optimistic about AI technology.
The Google exec gave his first in-depth interview since ChatGPT's release on the NYT's Hard Fork podcast.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a new interview that he is not surprised at the relatively lukewarm reaction to Google's Bard artificial intelligence chatbot, created to compete with OpenAI's ChatGPT, and that updates are coming.
"I feel like we took a souped-up Civic, kind of put it in a race with more powerful cars. And what surprised me is how well it does on many, many, many classes of queries," Pichai said in an appearance on the New York Times' Hard Fork podcast.
"But we are going to be training fast. We clearly have more capable models. Pretty soon, maybe as this goes live, we will be upgrading Bard to some of our more capable PaLM models…So you will see progress over the course of next week."
Pichai said Google was careful about introducing Bard, and wanted to get more complex models right rather than focusing on being first, or the perception of "losing" in the ongoing AI race.
Criticism that AI is moving too fast or that Google is falling behind creates a feeling of "whiplash" for Pichai, and he said Google is prioritizing safety and responsibility as Bard develops. However, Google has been criticized internally and externally for rushing, and because an early demonstration of Bard included at least one factual error.
Integration of Bard into other products like Gmail has begun rolling out to "a limited number of trusted testers," Pichai said. It would help do things like write drafts of emails when prompted with information about tone and subject matter.
He also discussed the recent, highly publicized letter signed by hundreds across the tech industry, including Elon Musk, that called for a pause of at least six months on development of AI systems more advanced than OpenAI's GPT-4.
"I think there is merit to be concerned about it," Pichai said. "So I think while I may not agree with everything that's there in the details of how you would go about it, I think the spirit of it is worth being out there."
But Pichai said a pause is essentially impossible without getting governments involved, because even if Google or OpenAI commits to halt development, there's no guarantee that other AI developers would follow suit. However, he agreed regulations are necessary, calling the letter a "conversation starter."
"AI is too important an area not to regulate," he said. "It's also too important an area not to regulate well. So I'm glad these conversations are underway."
Industries like health care that will be impacted by AI already have privacy regulations, which will help develop new regulations for AI in other industries, according to Pichai.
He also said that since AI will affect so many, it's more likely that a wider spectrum of people will care about regulating it correctly once it begins to affect them.
He said he is confident that most people's concerns about AI will be addressed.
"Am I concerned? Yes," Pichai said. "Am I optimistic and excited about all the potential of this technology? Incredibly. I mean, we've been working on this for a long time. But I think the fact that so many people are concerned gives me hope that we will rise over time and tackle what we need to do."
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