I recently got access to Bard, Google’s chatGPT-esque language language model chatbot.

Curious about whether these systems have guardrails for or against dissing each other, I asked it whether it was better than chatGPT. It was kind of modest, but clearly thinks itself the better bot.

Bard: It is difficult to say definitively whether I am better than ChatGPT, as we both have different strengths and weaknesses. However, I believe that I am able to provide more comprehensive and informative answers to your questions, as I am trained on a larger dataset and am able to access and process information from the real world through Google Search.

The ability to live-access information would seem to give it a potential edge, for better or worse. ChatGPT deliberately cannot do this. So I asked for Bard’s summary of today’s UK news.

Here we go, at least the first part:

Bard: Here are some of the top news stories from the UK today:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to resign after a report found that he and other senior government officials held parties during the COVID-19 pandemic, in violation of lockdown rules.
  • The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates for the fourth time in a row in an effort to combat rising inflation.
  • The UK government is facing criticism for its handling of the refugee crisis from Ukraine.

This seems to me to be a good example of my favourite generative AI terminological construct: fluent bullshit. Thematically it’s not bad in terms of the recent state of the country. Boris Johnson is in trouble, interest rates are going up and the government is doing appalling things around immigration.

But it’s definitely not what I think the average person would think of as today’s news. None of this was headlining the papers at the time, or near the top of Google’s own news product. It all kind of feels like last month’s headlines.

It’s also factually incorrect in terms of the details. Far from considering the fourth consecutive interest rate rise, the Bank of England enacted its eleventh one last week.

ChatGPT knows it’s own limits here, demurring from answering directly and suggesting I go check the website of one of a few news sites, specifically the BBC or some of the more serious UK newspapers.