Google has opened up BARD, its presumed ChatGPT competitor to the public. However, this has only been made available to some people in the US and the UK, for some reason. If you’re not in the two countries, you will have to wait for Google to deem you fit to test a language model that’s also not really good… according to first impressions.
Of course, being in Kenya, we are not able to try out BARD. We are however able to see reactions from different people who got in. And the first impressions are pointing to a model that’s miles behind. In fact, BARD itself has already pointed out that Google will abandon the project altogether.
With market leaders like Google, there is a certain level of expectation from customers and stakeholders regarding the quality and innovation of their products or services. If it so happens that there are instances where they fall behind to competition, like right now when compared to Bing and to ChatGPT, they are then viewed to be playing catch up.
But you cannot be playing catch up while releasing a half-baked product. Such a move not only damages user perception of the company, but also gives an advantage to the competing product that was released first. Even more when it is receiving awful reviews from influential people.
I’m particularly frustrated that in this day and age, Google of all companies would choose to limit access of their AI Language model. This is a model that’s still learning. And that will – if Google keeps it alive – be used by different people across the world. Limiting access to it raises concerns about potential biases, and a lack of representation from diverse cultures and perspectives. It is unethical.