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Google moving to remove bizarre AI search results, like telling users to eat rocks

Google is rushing to remove a series of false or dangerous answers from its controversial AI-powered search results, including one advising users to eat rocks for nutrition.

The embattled tech giant has faced significant backlash for spreading misinformation since the tool, called “AI Overview”, was launched in the US this month.

Google said the software will reach more than 1 billion users by the end of the year.

In one widely circulated example, AI Overview responded to the question “How many rocks should children eat?” with a false claim that a geologist at the University of California, Berkeley had recommended it. “Eat at least one small rock a day.”

Google recommends eating at least one rock per day. x / @

The answer is, Satirical article by The Onion.

“We act swiftly where appropriate under our content policies, and are using these examples to drive broader improvements to our systems, some of which are already being implemented,” Google said.

“The majority of our AI Overviews provide high-quality information with links to dig deeper on the web,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “Many of the examples we’ve seen are unusual queries, and we’ve also seen examples that have been doctored or cannot be reproduced.”

Google said many of the odd responses were examples of so-called data voids, a lack of quality information available online for a particular query.

The company said it makes thousands of improvements to its search features every year.

As reported by The Washington Post, the chatbot, which critics say could be devastating for news publishers, has sparked some bizarre responses, including telling users to add glue to their pizza sauce and claiming that cigarettes are good for children.

Google falsely claimed that former President Andrew Johnson earned 14 degrees from universities he never attended. x / @

“When you mix cheese into a sauce, the cheese adds moisture and makes the sauce less likely to dry out.” According to Google’s AI overview:“You can also add about 1/8 cup of non-toxic adhesive to the sauce to make it even more sticky.”

The adhesive recommendation appears to have been taken from an 11-year-old Reddit post about how to stop cheese from sliding off pizza.

AI experts are warning of big risks associated with this rapidly growing technology, from spreading misinformation through false claims called “hallucinations” to potentially threatening the very existence of humanity.

AI Overviews allegedly claimed that Google was violating antitrust laws. X / @bcmerchant

“Google Search is Google’s flagship product and cash cow,” says Gergely Orosz, author of the Pragmatic Engineer newsletter. “It’s the only trait Google needs to remain relevant, trustworthy, and useful. But examples of AI briefs turning Google Search into trash are all over my timeline.”

In one case, AI Overview showed that former U.S. President Andrew Johnson, who died in 1875, 14 degrees from the University of Wisconsin-MadisonSome of them are from 2012.

Johnson never attended the school.

Google’s AI-powered results also answered the question, “How many Muslim presidents has the United States had?” By false allegations The country had a Muslim president named Barack Hussein Obama.

Google said AI Overviews will reach more than 1 billion users worldwide by the end of the year. AP
Pictured is Google CEO Sundar Pichai. AP

Tech journalist Brian Merchant posted a screenshot of Google’s own AI search results. The company claimed it was violating antitrust laws.The Department of Justice cited pending litigation.

A previous version of Google’s AI chatbot, Bard, made a similar claim in November last year.

The Post could not immediately verify the authenticity of all the screenshots.

“The fact that it’s so hard to tell if an AI Overview is real (and yes, I understand that Google can check it, but the public can’t) is a huge misinformation risk in itself,” said Lily Ray, an online search expert who has tracked down several examples of real and doctored answers from AI Overview. Her X account.

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