07 December 2023

Google upgrades Bard with ‘most capable’ AI model to date

07 December 2023

Google is rolling out an upgraded version of its generative AI platform Bard, which promises to be its “most capable” model yet as the group steps up its competition with ChatGPT owner OpenAI.

The tech giant is launching its new AI foundation model, Gemini, in Bard and other products across the US and more than 170 countries worldwide – but is not yet launching in the UK.

Google and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai said it will be the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched.

He said: “We’re taking the next step on our journey with Gemini, our most capable and general model yet, with state-of-the-art performance across many leading benchmarks.

“This new era of models represents one of the biggest science and engineering efforts we’ve undertaken as a company.”

It comes as rapid advances in AI pick up pace, following ChatGPT’s latest release in March, with Google following suit amid a wave of next generation generative AI models, which experts predict will be significantly more advanced.

Google claims Gemini is the first AI model to beat “human experts” in its range of intelligence tests.

It plans to launch in English first, but will expand to different languages and other countries “in the near future”.

The group did not say when it will be available in the UK, but confirmed it is in the process of granting the UK AI safety institute – unveiled at the recent AI Summit – with access to its “most capable models for research and safety purposes”.

Google said Gemini will be “multi-modal”, meaning it will be able to operate and combine different types of information across words, pictures, video and sound.

“Gemini is also our most flexible model yet — able to efficiently run on everything from data centres to mobile devices,” it said.

Bard will use Gemini Pro – one of three levels of the model – to allow “more advanced reasoning, planning, understanding and more”.

Gemini will also be built into its Pixel 8 Pro smartphones, powering new features such as “summarise” in its recorder app, as well as “smart reply” in Google keyboard, starting with WhatsApp messaging.

It confirmed it will be available across more products and services “in the coming months”, such as Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI, which is Google’s AI-powered cloud assistant.

The group said it will be building in safeguards while working “collaboratively” with governments and experts to help head off the mounting risks from AI.

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