Bullying Google Is a Thing

May 24, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

Imagine the smartest kid in the fifth grade. The classmates are not jealous, but they are keenly aware of the brightest star having an aloof, almost distracted attitude. Combine that with a credit in a TV commercial when the budding wizard was hired to promote an advanced mathematics course developed by the child’s mother and father. The blessed big brain finds itself the object of ridicule. The PhD parents, the proud teacher, and the child’s tutor who works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory cannot understand why the future Master of the Universe is being bullied. Remarkable, is it not?

5 23 googzilla nobody fears

Herewith is an illustration of a fearsome creature, generated in gloomy colors, by the MidJourney bot, roaring its superiority. However, those observing the Big Boy are convulsed with laughter. Why laugh at an ageing money machine with big teeth?

I read “Google’s AI Search Feature Suggested Using Glue to Keep Cheese Sticking to a Pizza.” Yep fourth grade bullying may be part of the poking and prodding of a quite hapless but wealthy, successful Googzilla. Here’s an example of the situation in which the Google, which I affectionately call “Googzilla,” finds itself:

Google’s new search feature, AI Overviews, seems to be going awry. The tool, which gives AI-generated summaries of search results, appeared to instruct a user to put glue on pizza when they searched "cheese not sticking to pizza."

In another write up, Business Insider asserted:

But in searches shared on X, users have gotten contradictory instructions on boiling taro and even been encouraged to run with scissors after the AI appeared to take a joke search seriously. When we asked whether a dog had ever played in the NHL, Google answered that one had, apparently confused by a charity event for rescue pups.

My reaction to this digital bullying is mixed. On one hand, Google has demonstrated that its Code Red operating mode is cranking out half-cooked pizza. Sure, the pizza may have some non-poisonous glue, but Google is innovating. A big event provided a platform for the online advertising outfit to proclaim, “We are the leaders in smart software.” On the other hand, those observing Google’s outputs find the beastie a follower; for example, OpenAI announced ChatGPT4o the day before Google’s “reveal.” Then Microsoft presented slightly more coherent applications using AI, including the privacy special service which records everything a person does on a reinvented Windows on Arm device.

Several observations are warranted:

  1. Googzilla finds itself back in grade school with classmates of lesser ability, wealth, and heritage making fun of the entity. Wow, remember the shame? Remember the fun one had poking fun at an outsider? Humans are wonderful, are they not?
  2. “Users” or regular people who rely on Google seem to have a pent up anger with the direction in which Googzilla has been going. Since the company does not listen to its “users,” calling attention to Googzilla’s missteps is an easy way to say, “Hey, Big Fella, you are making us unhappy.” Will Google pay attention to these unexpected signals?
  3. Google, the corporate entity, seems to be struggling with Management 101 tasks; for example, staff or people resources. The CFO is heading to the exit. Competition, while flawed in some ways, continues to nibble at Google’s advertising perpetual motion machine. Google innovation focuses on gamesmanship and trying to buy digital marketing revenue.

Net net: I anticipate more coverage of Google’s strategy and tactical missteps. The bullying will continue and probably grow unless the company puts on its big boy pants and neutralizes the school yard behavior its critics and cynics deliver.

Stephen E Arnold, May 24, 2024


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