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Google Launches Bard In EU and Brazil

Google made a significant move by launching its AI chatbot, Bard, in the European Union and several other countries. This expansion is a crucial step in Google’s competition with Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, although it faced a delay due to concerns over data privacy.

Originally unveiled in February, Bard’s relase in the 27-nation EU was postponed in June following inquiries from the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). The decision was influenced by the fact that Ireland serves as the European headquarters for major US tech companies.

Aside from the EU, Bard was also introduced in Brazil and approximately twelve other nations on the same day.

In a blog post, Jack Krawczyk, Bard’s product lead, and Amarnag Subramanya, the vice president, stated that Bard is now accessible in most parts of the world and supports a wide range of languages.

“As part of our bold and responsible approach to AI, we’ve proactively engaged with experts, policymakers and privacy regulators on this expansion,” they said.

As Google expands access to Bard, the company has emphasized its commitment to incorporating user feedback and implementing measures to safeguard privacy and data.

According to Graham Doyle, the spokesperson and deputy commissioner of the Irish data privacy watchdog, Google initially intended to release Bard in the EU in June but halted the process in response to the queries raised by the DPC.

In preparation for the recent launch, Google made several adjustments, as highlighted by Doyle in a statement. These modifications included enhancing transparency and providing users with improved controls over their data.

“We will be continuing our engagement with Google in relation to Bard post-launch,” he said.

“Google have agreed to carrying out a review and providing a report to the DPC after three months of Bard becoming operational in the EU.”

Earlier this year, the European Data Protection Board established a task force to address AI-related concerns, highlighting the growing importance of addressing AI issues in the region.

Italy imposed a one-month block on ChatGPT in March, due to privacy concerns, showcasing the heightened scrutiny and caution surrounding AI technologies.

Google’s recent rollout of Bard is aimed at catching up with Microsoft, which has swiftly integrated ChatGPT-like capalities into various products, including the Bing search engine.

With its expanded availability, Bard now supports over 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, and Spanish. Previously, it was limited to English, Japanese, and Korean.

Google has also introduced new features for Bard, such as the ability to receive audio responses and offer answers in different styles: simple, long, short, professional, or casual. Users can now upload photos for Bard to analyze and provide information.

While AI presents exciting possibilities, concerns persist regarding its potential to replace human tasks and its impact on society. Recent advancements in AI have demonstrated the ability to generate essays, create realistic images, imitate famous voices, and even pass medical exams. However, there are also apprehensions about chatbots spreading disinformation, biased algorithms producing racist content, and Ai-powered automation disrupting entire industries.

Experts, include ChatGPT founder Sam Altman have expressed warnings about the existential risks posed by AI. Altman and numerous specialists signed a statement in May urging global leaders to mitigate the risk of AI-induced extinction. Nonetheless, these warnings have not impeded the rapid development of AI technologies.

Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla and Twitter, who has voiced his concerns about AI risks, recently launched and AI company called xAI. While xAI will operate independently, its technology is expected to benefit Musk’s other businesses, including twitter.