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Grandma’s on Google Again & AI Overview

Grandma’s on Google Again & AI Overview | Mission Cloud


Dr. Ryan Ries here, and today I want to talk about a recent announcement from Google about their AI Overview and the hilarious but also concerning responses it's been generating.

What's AI Overview?

AI Overview is a feature Google just launched that provides AI-generated answers to search queries. While the intention is to enhance the search experience, the results haven't always been the best. From suggesting adding glue to your pizza and pebbles to your diet to dismissing the importance of parachutes in skydiving, AI Overview has been serving up some pretty bizarre responses.

The Root of the Problem

So, what's causing these crazy AI answers? According to Liz Reid, VP and head of Google Search, the issue lies in "data voids" or "information gaps."

When there isn't enough high-quality content available to answer a specific query, AI Overview ends up pulling from satirical sources like The Onion or trolling posts on forums, leading to nonsensical or even dangerous suggestions.

And to be honest, while some of these responses from AI Overview did make me laugh out loud, I can't ignore the danger of these insane responses.

We already see quite a bit of misinformation spread on social media.

I can see how completely inaccurate AI Overview responses have the potential to spread fake news like crazy, especially with the upcoming election cycle.

I also would think that Google would be a bit more careful for liability reasons. I've read reports that AI Overview has been giving medical advice in cases, and that just seems like a recipe for disaster.

So, all this to say, please warn your Grandma Susie not to trust everything she reads from AI Overview. 

The Good News: Google Seems to Have a Plan to Fix This

To address these issues, Google has announced a series of technical improvements to its systems. These include:

  • Better detection of nonsensical queries to limit the inclusion of satirical and humorous content
  • Limiting user-generated content, like forum posts
  • Enhanced refinements for health-related queries to provide more accurate answers
  • Fewer AI Overviews for hard news searches

While these measures are a step in the right direction, it's clear that AI Overview still has a long way to go before it can be considered a reliable and trustworthy addition to Google Search.

The Importance of Responsible AI Development

I think it's important to point out that we are all learning in this space.

AI is changing how we do everything at the speed of light. There are bound to be mess-ups and mishaps.

There are also lessons to learn here.

This AI Overview debacle serves as a reminder of the importance of reliable, secure, and responsible AI development and the need for rigorous testing and refinement before releasing AI-powered features to the public.

As we continue to explore all the potential of AI, it's crucial that we remain vigilant in identifying and addressing the limitations and pitfalls of these technologies.

By sharing lessons learned from cases like AI Overview, we can work together as an AI community to develop more robust, reliable, and trustworthy AI systems.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on AI Overview and the challenges of AI-generated content. Have you come across any bizarre AI Overview responses in your own searches? Reply and let me know!

We'll touch on this topic a little at my Ask Us Anything session with Mission's CTO Jonathan LaCour TOMORROW. Come ready with all your burning gen AI questions. We'll have a great time!

Until next time,


Now, here's an AI-generated image that captures the essence of Google's AI Overview blunders:

Grandma Muppet

"Generate an image of an elderly grandma muppet shocked at the news story she is reading. You can tell on her face that she is visibly shocked. The news story is about adding glue to your pizza. The grandma is wearing glasses, and she has a pearl necklace on."

Author Spotlight:

Ryan Ries

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