Google’s AI Overview Faces Backlash Due to Glitchy Output

Google’s new AI Overview product has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. Social media platforms are flooded with examples of the AI producing bizarre and nonsensical outputs, ranging from advising users to put glue on their pizza to suggesting they eat rocks. The messy rollout has led Google to scramble to manually disable AI Overviews for specific searches, as various memes start circulating online. This has resulted in many of these strange AI outputs disappearing shortly after being posted on social networks.

The situation is puzzling, considering Google has been testing AI Overviews for a year now. The feature was launched in beta in May 2023 as the Search Generative Experience, boasting over a billion queries served in that time frame. CEO Sundar Pichai has claimed that Google managed to reduce the cost of delivering AI answers by 80% through hardware and technical advancements. However, this optimization might have occurred prematurely, before the technology was fully prepared.

Despite Google’s assertions that its AI Overview product predominantly provides high-quality information, the recent glitchy outputs have raised doubts. A company synonymous with cutting-edge technology and top-notch products is now facing criticism for delivering low-quality outputs that are becoming the subject of memes. Critics argue that AI companies often oversell the capabilities of their technology, promising a seamless transition from 80% accuracy to 100%. Achieving the initial 80% accuracy is relatively straightforward by approximating vast amounts of human data. Still, the final 20% poses significant challenges that may require artificial general intelligence.

AI experts like Gary Marcus and Meta’s AI chief Yann LeCun believe that the current large language models powering AI systems will not be the key to achieving artificial general intelligence. Meanwhile, Google finds itself in a precarious position as competitors like Bing, OpenAI, and other AI startups are entering the market with innovative solutions. The pressure to stay competitive and deliver cutting-edge AI technology may have contributed to the hasty rollout and subsequent glitches in Google’s AI Overview product.

Grand Plans and Current Challenges

Google envisions a future where AI Overviews can handle complex queries with multistep reasoning, generate organized results pages, and facilitate video searches through Google Lens. However, the current focus remains on rectifying the basic functionalities and restoring the company’s reputation in the wake of glitchy AI outputs. The inability of AI models to conduct sanity checks on their own work has become a significant concern for the industry, leading to instances like the current backlash faced by Google’s AI Overview product.

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