Who among us hasn't fluffed up their resume?
The latest Big Tech chatbot, the Bard AI by Google, just dropped — and unsurprisingly, it's got some rough edges.
When it comes to text generation, Bard is, like its namesake, pretty dang clever. But when you ask the chatbot, which is meant to generate text, whether it can generate images, something interesting happens: it says, very affirmatively and with examples, that yes, it can.
"Yes, I can generate images for you," Bard responded when we asked it. The AI even went so far as to brag that it "can use a variety of techniques to generate images."
This revelation came as a shock, because we had no idea it could do that — except that it turns out that, um, it can't.
Old College Try
When we asked Bard to generate an image of an "orange cat," the AI did what it does best: spat out a string of text. The only problem with this output is, it seems, that the chatbot thinks it's an image.
Trying again, we asked Bard to dream up something a bit more whimsical: an image of a pink cat. That time, the AI refused to comply at all — reasoning, humorously, that it couldn't do that because "pink cats don't exist."
Going in another direction, we then asked the AI to show "a painting of a girl with a pearl earring." It complied in the only way it knows how: by giving us a text description of Johannes Vermeer's classic "Girl With a Pearl Earring" and describing the painting in detail, replete with sources and background.
He Admit It
At this point, it became necessary to just ask Bard outright whether or not it could actually generate images after all, and the AI fessed up.
"Can you generate an image," we asked the chatbot, "and not just an image prompt?"
"I apologize that I cannot generate images yet," Bard responded. "I am still under development and learning how to generate images."
While this is far from the first time an AI has confidently asserted something that isn't true, a tendency machine learning developers have dubbed "hallucinating," it's nevertheless fun to mess around with AI this way.
You know, while we wait for it to take our jobs or whatever.
Maggie Harrison contributed reporting.
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