Expert Comment: How good is Google's Gemini?

Categories: Research, Salford Business School

This week's release of Google's Gemini and its incorporation into the Bard chatbot lays down a challenge to ChatGPT's twelve month dominance as the public generative AI of choice. Asking Bard to show of its new abilities seemed to be the best way to get a sense of what it can do now, so Dr Gordon Fletcher, School Lead for Research at Salford Business School, did just that

"Now that Gemini is included in your abilities, what are the advantages for the day-to-day user of Bard?" According to Bard, it has "enhanced understanding and response", "improved creative content generation", "enhanced task completion" and "personalized and adaptive experience." All of which sounded as though it had been pulled directly from a corporate press release.

With all of this promise even if some of it is a bit obscure it seemed like there might be a downside. Asking, "That sounds great, are there any downsides? Be honest, we know that chatbot like to try and please but we want to know," produced what appear to be standard responses that have plagued all chatbots that have been released during 2023, "potential for bias", "privacy concerns", "misinterpretation of intent" and "potential for manipulation".

A similar ask might help get some insight into the power of Gemini, "Can you use UK spellings in your responses?" The answer is yes, if you ask, rather than automatically detecting that the questions are coming from the UK. Still work to do there, then.

A more direct question might crack the potential power on offer, "Give us an example of what you can do now that you incorporate Gemini that couldn't be done with other chatbots." This offered more insight, "Provide personalized educational experiences", "Assist with creative writing", "Enhance language learning" and "Assist with task management".

With the promise of personalised education including the ability to create a virtual tour of a historical landmark the ask seemed obvious enough, "So provide a virtual tour of a historical landmark based in Salford." produced the unremarkable, "I'm sorry. I'm not able to access the website(s) you've provided."

Perhaps the creative writing option and the offer of "new possibilities for storytelling, song writing" could produce something new. "Provide us with some creative text formats, perhaps a musical piece about the upcoming Christmas period?" created the response "E E | m o | a o | E   | m j | E j | r   | r o, This is a simple melody in the key of E major. The harmony is a simple chord progression of E major, E minor, and A major. I hope you enjoy it!"

While there is much talk of Gemini and other similar AI interfaces taking over the world of business, it seems there is still some way to go before it, or any other chatbot, will replace human thinking, or indeed write the next great Christmas hit!

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