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2 weeks ago
Google scrambles to manually remove weird AI answers in search

 

Originally published in The Verge, May 24, 2024.

The company confirmed it is ‘taking swift action’ to remove some of the AI tool’s bizarre responses.

Social media is abuzz with examples of Google’s new AI Overview product saying weird stuff, from telling users to put glue on their pizza to suggesting they eat rocks. The messy rollout means Google is racing to manually disable AI Overviews for specific searches as various memes get posted, which is why users are seeing so many of them disappear shortly after being posted to social networks.

It’s an odd situation, since Google has been testing AI Overviews for a year now — the feature launched in beta in May 2023 as the Search Generative Experience — and CEO Sundar Pichai has said the company served over a billion queries in that time.

But Pichai has also said that Google’s brought the cost of delivering AI answers down by 80 percent over that same time, “driven by hardware, engineering and technical breakthroughs.” It appears that kind of optimization might have happened too early, before the tech was ready.

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