Google backs AI search answers after asking users to eat glue

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SAN FRANCISCO – Google said it is reducing the use of AI-generated answers in some search results, after the tech made high-profile mistakes including letting users put glue on their pizza and calling Barack Obama a Muslim. .

Google started to put artificial intelligence answers at the top of search results for users in the United States two weeks ago, but users and search engine experts began to notice on Thursday that there were fewer answers than in previous days. Questions were triggering AI responses.

Liz Reed, Google's head of search, confirmed in a blog post Thursday afternoon that the company is leaving behind some AI answers, which she calls “AI Overviews.” Reed said in the post that the company reduced the use of social media posts as source material for AI answers, blocked some answers on health-related topics and added “trigger restrictions for questions where AI reviews Wasn't being that helpful,” Reid said in the post. . Reid said the company made more than a dozen technical changes aimed at improving the system.

The change is the latest example of Google launching an AI product with fanfare and then pulling it back after it flops. In February, the company banned users from creating images of people with its AI image tool after conservative commentators accused it of white bias.

The tech industry is in the grip of an AI revolution, with startups and big tech giants alike scrambling to find new ways to infuse tech into their products and monetize it. Many tools are launched before they're ready for prime time, as companies rush to be the first to market their products and cast themselves as cutting-edge.

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Google, whose employees invented much of the tech underlying breakthrough AI tools like ChatGPT, is trying to prove to investors, customers and its own employees that it is still the most important player in the industry. At its I/O conference this month, the company made more than 100 different AI-related announcements.

The big one was the confirmation that it will start serving AI-generated answers in search results to most of its users. Google has been testing AI answers for a year with a select group of users, but adding them to more search results means more people are now starting to interact with generative AI directly on the tool. will give what they use every day.

The technology works by reading websites that would otherwise appear in Google search results and then summarizing them into multi-paragraph answers. Publishers have accused the company of misbehaving and harming their business by taking their content and placing it directly in search results for consumers, depriving them of vital web traffic. .

But journalists, search engine experts and social media users quickly began digging into the problems with answers. Some of the answers were funny while others were relevant. He also expressed his views on sensitive issues including health related issues.

One answer, which Google has since fixed, told people to drink plenty of urine to help pass kidney stones. Another said that John F. Kennedy graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in six different years, three of which were after his death.

Google tried to test the tool as much as possible before a wider rollout, but Reid said the full-scale launch revealed many situations the company hadn't prepared for.

“There's nothing like millions of people using this feature,” Reed said.

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