How a Single AI Bot Error Caused the Value of Google Shares to Drop by Over $100 Billion

OpenAI is currently one of the biggest players in the industry. But while the world was hounding ChatGPT and DALL-e to get a hold of the latest AI advancements, Google and its parent company, Alphabet, were working on a new generative AI model- Bard.
At the beginning of February 2023, Google presented the public with the first Bard demo, but what had been considered revolutionary progress in the AI field soon turned into a disaster. Google’s AI bot produced a factual error, causing Google shares to drop significantly.

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Illustration: Milica Mijajlovic

What Is Google Bard AI?

Just like its competitor, ChatGPT, Google Bard AI is an AI chatbot developed to respond to user queries. The primary idea behind Bard was to create a bot that could generate the latest information and high-quality response, all while being widely available to the public.

Now, some speculations show that Google will likely integrate its latest invention with Google Search. The AI bot would then be accessible through the search bar, allowing everyone to use such a precious tool. Still, it’s also possible that once introduced to the public and ingrained in the Google search engine, Bard will change the way we scout for information online.

Artificial intelligence

Photo illustration: Freepik

But since Google Bard is under construction and testing, it has yet to be released to the public. So, for now, we can rely on Google’s sneak peeks and provide mere speculations based on what we know so far.

Still, what we do know about Google Bard AI is that it is based on LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), Google’s AI system relying on Transformer architecture and specializing in dialogue. As a result, Bard can answer real-time questions and generate output types other than texts. But Google is far from reaching this ideal, especially now after its chatbot performed poorly in its first demo presentation.

A Single Mistake Cost Google $100 Billion and Counting

On February 3, 2023, Google shared a Bard ad on its Twitter profile, announcing its first chatbot to the world. In the featured gif, Bard was asked a question: “What new discoveries from James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my nine year old about?”

Google’s bot Bard quickly responded with several suggestions, including a claim that the telescope in question took the first pictures of exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system.

However, James Webb Space Telescope wasn’t in fact, the first telescope to capture exoplanets. The first picture of exoplanets was taken in 2004 with the European Southern Observatory telescope. James Webb Space Telescope was launched in late 2021, almost 17 years after these pictures were taken.

Some didn’t even notice such a mistake on Bard’s behalf, but those who did make it loud and clear that Google’s bot generated an error. Soon after, Google’s already shaky share price plummeted and has been going further downhil since the mistake was spotted.

Google Share Price: Before and After Bard’s Story

Google’s venture into 2023 failed miserably. We’re not even two months in, and Google is dealing with a loss of big proportions.

After boasting significant share price increases in the very fortunate year of 2021, it marked the following year by following the crowd back into the financial abyss. One market crash led to the other, with Google’s value dropping to below $90 per share at the beginning of 2023. According to Yahoo Finance, whose first note of Google’s stock price was on January 3rd, 2023, Google’s stock entered the 2023 market with a price of somewhere between $88.73 and $89.70.

GOOGL chart

Source: Yahoo Finance

Still, Google’s stock price bounced back during January 2023. In less than a month, the value skyrocketed from $88.73 to $108.80. As the hype around the Bard bot was brewing, Google indeed had a chance to recover in 2023. Some may even argue that Google’s success depends on Bard’s capability to compete and, hopefully, beat ChatGPT.

But all that talk went down the drain because Google’s first formal introduction of Bard to the public didn’t go as well as planned. As a result of this unexpected and intolerable mistake, Google lost around $100 billion since the error was first noticed, and investors began panic-selling their Google assets.

On February 7th, a day after Google published the Bard ad on its Twitter account, Google’s stock went up from $103.47 to $108.04. But this trail of hope was interrupted the next day when Google’s value went down; more precisely, it fell to $100 per share. We can see on the chart that was when investors started selling frantically.

If you’re wondering if the Google stock price managed to recover on February 9th, let’s just say that a single Google share was worth $95.46. However, it dropped to $94.86 the next day. On February 13th, the day this article was written, Google’s share was worth around $95.20, but it might drop or rise by the end of the day.

On February 7th, the average 24-hour volume for GOOGL was $33.74 million. The average daily volume overdoubled the next day, amounting to $73.55 million. An even higher average daily volume was recorded on February 9th, which amounted to $97.80 million. Additionally, on the 8th and 9th of February, the value was down, so we can conclude from this chart that investors were panic-selling their Google stocks the most during this time.

What’s Next for Google?

Bard’s first promotion clearly backfired, with people now praising ChatGPT more than ever.

AI bot

Photo illustration: Freepik

So, naturally, many are asking which is better?

It’s challenging to conclude, as Google’s tool is still facing setbacks and isn’t yet released on the market. Still, investors are flocking out, and it might take a while before Google gains their trust again. So, for now, it’s quite possible that the Google stock price will continue to drop and that more and more investors will try to get rid of this asset.

That said, Google will also have to work hard to determine how this mistake even made it to Twitter at all and cut the problem from the root. After all, this mistake was a marketing favor to ChatGPT, and unless they determine how to turn this kick to their advantage, Google will likely face yet another defeat.

On the other hand, Bard is still in development, and we shouldn’t completely give up on it, as the tool indeed has the potential to revolutionize the Web 2.0 world. If Google merges its AI tool with the world’s most prominent search engine, this bold move will completely elevate our lives and allow us to say with confidence that we have all the information we need at the tip of our fingers. But, of course, we need to see significant improvements before genuinely believing in that.

Jelena is a content writer dedicated to learning about all things crypto. Her hobbies are playing chess, drawing, baking, and going on long walks. During winter, she usually spends her leisure time reading books.