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Alphabet's ChatGPT Competitor, Bard, Makes European and Brazilian Debut

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is expanding the reach of its artificial intelligence chatbot Bard to Europe and Brazil. This marks the largest expansion for Bard since its launch in the US and the UK earlier this year, intensifying the competition with Microsoft's ChatGPT. Both chatbots utilize generative AI to respond to questions in a human-like manner.

The launch of Bard in the European Union was delayed due to concerns raised by the bloc's main data regulator regarding privacy. The Irish Data Protection Commission asserted that Alphabet had not provided sufficient information about how the generative AI tool safeguards the privacy of European users. However, Alphabet has since addressed these concerns and reassured the regulators about transparency, choice, and control, emphasizing that users have the option to opt out of data collection.

Amar Subramanya, the engineering vice president of Bard, stated that the company wants to be both bold and responsible, referring to Bard as an experiment. Additionally, Google has introduced new features to Bard globally, including the ability for the chatbot to speak its responses and respond to prompts containing images. Users can collaborate with Bard in over 40 languages and customize the tone and style of its responses.

The development of generative AI has attracted significant attention, with debates about its potential impact on humanity and its ability to address challenges such as climate change. In recent months, companies have invested billions in the hope of generating substantial revenue through advertising and cloud services. Elon Musk, among other tech figures, has advocated for a pause in AI development and called for regulation in the field.

In response to the growing interest in generative AI, Mistral AI, a start-up, secured an £86 million seed funding round to build and train large language models. Elon Musk also announced the formation of an AI start-up called xAI, comprising engineers from OpenAI and Google. However, despite the influx of investment, the novelty of AI chatbots may be declining, as web user numbers for ChatGPT experienced a decline in traffic and unique visitors in June.

Google is also facing a new class action lawsuit in the US, filed by eight individuals, alleging the misuse of personal information to train Bard. The plaintiffs argue that Google's unauthorized scraping of data from websites violates their privacy and property rights. The complaint emphasizes that Google does not own the internet or individuals' creative works simply because they are shared online.

In summary, Alphabet is expanding the presence of its AI chatbot Bard in Europe and Brazil, following its initial launch in the US and the UK. Privacy concerns initially delayed Bard's launch in the EU, but Alphabet has since addressed these issues. The company has also introduced new features to Bard, including speech capabilities and the ability to respond to prompts with images. The development of generative AI has sparked significant investment, while simultaneously raising debates about its potential impact on society. However, interest in AI chatbots may be waning, and Google is facing legal challenges regarding the use of personal data for training Bard.

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