Google Bard introduces “Human reviewers,” sparking privacy concerns over conversation monitoring

Google Bard has quietly rolled out a new feature known as “human review,” aimed at enhancing Bard conversations and refining feedback for its generative AI. This is one of several features Google has released over the past month as its AI chatbot struggles to catch up with ChatGPT.

Google said it has taken several measures to ensure user privacy during this human review process. But the move is likely to spark privacy concerns about Google’s handling of conversations subject to human review.

Google explained that conversations and related data that reviewers access and annotate are deliberately disassociated from specific user accounts. Additionally, only a random sample of Bard conversations undergoes human review, and not all are subjected to this process.

According to notes on its Privacy Hub page, Google explained that trained reviewers examine conversations to identify low-quality, inaccurate, or potentially harmful responses generated by Bard. Subsequently, they provide recommendations for higher-quality responses, which ultimately contribute to the creation of a more robust dataset for the generative machine-learning models. This, in turn, aids in the production of improved responses in the future.

However, it’s worth noting that Bard conversations that have undergone human review, along with related feedback and data like language, device type, or location information, are not deleted when a user deletes their Bard activity. These reviewed items are kept separate and unlinked to the user’s Google Account, with retention for a period of up to three years.

“Bard conversations that have been reviewed by human reviewers (as well as feedback and related data like your language, device type, or location info) are not deleted when you delete your Bard activity because they are kept separately and are not connected to your Google Account. Instead, they are retained for up to 3 years,” Google said on its Privacy Hub page.

In the latest update, Google also cautions users against sharing sensitive information, noting that “human reviewers may assess your Bard conversations for quality purposes.”

“Human reviewers may process your Bard conversations for quality purposes. Don’t enter sensitive info.”

The company goes on to provide an explanation for the necessity of human review. You can read it below.

Why is human review of my Bard conversations, feedback, and related data required?

Google uses conversations (as well as feedback and related data) from Bard users to improve Google products (such as the generative machine-learning models that power Bard), so we can make them safer, more helpful, and work better for all users. Human review is a necessary step of the model improvement process. Through their review, rating, and rewrites, humans help enable quality improvements of generative machine-learning models like the ones that power Bard.

We take a number of precautions to protect your privacy during this human review process: conversations (as well as feedback and related data like your language, device type, or location info) that reviewers see and annotate are not associated with any user accounts. We pick a random sample for such human review, and only a portion of all Bard conversations are reviewed.

For instance, our trained reviewers look at conversations to assess if Bard’s response is low-quality, inaccurate, or harmful. From there, trained evaluators suggest higher-quality responses. These are then used to create a better dataset for generative machine-learning models to learn from so our models can produce improved responses in the future.

Bard conversations that have been reviewed by human reviewers (as well as feedback and related data like your language, device type, or location info) are not deleted when you delete your Bard activity because they are kept separately and are not connected to your Google Account. Instead, they are retained for up to 3 years.

Learn more about how to turn off, manage, and delete your Bard activity at any time.


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