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Bard is 'cringeworthy' and 'worse than useless' Google employees claim

Google reportedly rushed Bard's launch despite concerns.
By

Published onApril 20, 2023

Stock photo of Google Bard website on phone 3
TL;DR
  • A report reveals internal reactions to Bard before Google launched the tool.
  • Employees had concerns about Google rushing to get the product out.
  • Ethics reportedly took a back seat to profits and growth.

Shortly after OpenAI launched ChatGPT, Google rolled out its own AI chatbot — Bard. Since then, the conversational AI program has made some embarrassing missteps, like when the demo gave out wrong information about the James Webb Space Telescope. Knowing the software’s limitations, it appears some Google employees weren’t very happy about the company rushing Bard’s launch.

A new report from Bloomberg sheds some light on the internal perception of Bard before its release. After reviewing internal documentation and talking with 18 current and former employees, the report paints a bleak picture of Bard’s capabilities and employee sentiment.

According to the outlet, one worker described the chatbot as “cringeworthy.” Another employee warned that “Bard is worse than useless: please do not launch.” One employee even pointed out that when asked questions about scuba diving, Bard gave answers “which would likely result in serious injury or death.”

Despite the seemingly overwhelming negative reception, Google decided to launch the AI chatbot anyway. This decision may have been fueled by the “code red” management declared after the rise of ChatGPT. According to the employees, leadership decided that as long as it called new products “experiments,” the public might forgive their shortcomings.

When it came to ethics, it appears Google didn’t care all that much. The report claims that workers who were responsible for the safety and ethical implications of new products were told “not to get in the way or to try to kill any of the generative AI tools in development.”

Regardless of how Google’s staff feels about Bard, the company continues to push AI experimentation. Recently, it was revealed that Google could launch a flurry of AI Search features by the time Google I/O comes around.