Published on November 17, 2023, 6:48 pm

Google Rolls Out Bard, Its Generative Ai Chatbot, To Teenagers Worldwide

Google Expands Access of Generative AI Chatbot to Teenagers Worldwide

Google has recently announced that its generative AI chatbot, Bard, is now available to teenagers in most countries worldwide. In a blog post, the company highlighted its commitment to responsibility as it continues to bring its generative AI tools to more users.

To access Bard, teenage users in eligible areas must meet the minimum age requirements set by Google to manage their own Google account. These age requirements generally fall between 14 and 16 years old. Initially, Bard’s availability will be limited to English only, but Google plans to add more languages in the future.

The announcement comes two months after Google expanded access to its AI-powered search experience (SGE) for teens who signed up for the company’s Search Labs. The introduction of both Bard and SGE reflects Google’s dedication to responsibly opening up generative AI tools to a wider audience.

While generative AI holds great promise in various fields such as travel planning, event organization, business research, and education, it also comes with certain risks that require careful attention. One of these risks is the potential for hallucinations within the language models underlying AI chatbots like Bard. Hallucinations occur when chatbots generate incorrect or nonsensical text.

To address this concern, when a teenager asks a factual question for the first time using Bard, the platform automatically runs a double-check response feature. This helps evaluate if there is web content available to substantiate Bard’s answer. The post also emphasizes the importance of regularly using this feature and mentions that it will soon run automatically for all new Bard users asking their initial factual question.

The field of AI chatbots and generative AI has witnessed exponential growth ever since OpenAI introduced its ChatGPT service to the public a year ago. In collaboration with Microsoft and other leading artificial intelligence companies, Google launched the Frontier Model Forum—an industry group focused on identifying best AI safety practices and promoting responsible use.

In a previous blog post in September, Google reassured users about the safeguards implemented in SGE to protect teenagers. These safeguards include preventing inappropriate or harmful content from surfacing, especially related to illegal substances, age-gated materials, and bullying. As Google gathers feedback, they continue to improve their systems’ response to ensure better protection for teens.

Users have the option to enable or disable SGE in search and while browsing through the Google Search Labs home page. In August, Google introduced significant updates to the Search Generative Experience within the Google App and later in the Chrome web browser, enabling webpage summarization and providing definitions of unfamiliar words.

Google’s commitment to expanding generative AI tools is evident with its recent introduction of Bard capabilities to its Google Assistant service back in October. This step further enhances users’ experience by allowing them to access Bard features directly through the popular voice-activated Assistant.

As generative AI continues to evolve, companies such as Google are at the forefront of ensuring responsible development and usage. With ongoing improvements and collaborations with experts in the field, they strive to make generative AI a valuable tool while safeguarding users’ well-being.

Editor’s Note: CNET has incorporated an AI engine into some of its content creation processes. To learn more about this initiative, please refer to our previous post.

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