Google Unleashes Its Most Ambitious Wave of AI-Powered Tools Yet

Category Artificial Intelligence

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Google announced a suite of AI-powered products and features at its annual I/O conference. The products range from an improved version of its chatbot, Bard, to coding assistants and much more. Google hopes its tools will become an essential part of day-to-day life. There are however, cons to these AI language models and they likely won't see widespread use until the kinks are sorted out.

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Google is stuffing powerful new AI tools into tons of its existing products and launching a slew of new ones, including a coding assistant, it announced at its annual I/O conference today.

Billions of users will soon see Google’s latest AI language mode, PaLM 2, integrated into over 25 products like Maps, Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and the company’s chatbot, Bard. For example, people will be able to simply type a request such as "Write a job description" into a text box that appears in Google Docs, and the AI language model will generate a text template that users can customize.

Google's AI models are trained with the text of billions of web pages, which includes websites that may contain inappropriate language.

Because of safety and reputational risks, Google has been slower than competitors to launch AI-powered products. But fierce competition from competitors Microsoft, OpenAI, and others has left it no choice but to start, says Chirag Shah, a computer science professor at the University of Washington.

It’s a high-risk strategy, given that AI language models have numerous flaws with no known fixes. Embedding them into its products could backfire and run afoul of increasingly hawkish regulators, experts warn.Google is also opening up access to its ChatGPT competitor, Bard, from a select group in the US and the UK to the general public in over 180 countries. Bard will "soon" allow people to prompt it using images as well as words, Google said, and the chatbot will be able to reply to queries with pictures. Google is also launching AI tools that let people generate and debug code.

Google's AI-driven products will help people in more than 180 countries access AI-powered services from their homes.

Google has been using AI technology for years in products like text translation and speech recognition. But this is the company’s biggest push yet to integrate the latest wave of AI technology into a variety of products."[AI language models’] capabilities are getting better. We’re finding more and more places where we can integrate them into our existing products, and we’re also finding real opportunities to provide value to people in a bold but responsible way," Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of Google DeepMind, told MIT Technology Review.

Google believes that their AI-powered tools will become an essential part of day-to-day life, like a trusty butler.

"This moment for Google is really a moment where we are seeing the power of putting AI in people’s hands," he says.

The hope, Ghahramani says, is that people will get so used to these tools that they will become an unremarkable part of day-to-day life.

--- One-stop shop --- .

Google’s announcement comes as rivals like Microsoft, OpenAI, and Meta and open-source groups like Stability.AI compete to launch impressive AI tools that can summarize text, fluently answer people’s queries, and even produce images and videos from word prompts.

Google's competitors are also introducing new AI tools, with varying levels of success.

With this updated suite of AI-powered products and features, Google is targeting not only individuals but also startups, developers, and companies that might be willing to pay for access to models, coding assistance, and enterprise software, says Shah.

"It’s very important for Google to be that one-stop shop," he says.

Google is making new features and models available that harness its AI language technology as a coding assistant, allowing people to generate and complete code and converse with a chatbot to get help with debugging and code-related questions.

The AI language models Google are embedding in products are prone to fabricating false facts.

The trouble is that the sorts of large language models Google is embedding in its products are prone to making things up. Google experienced this firsthand when it originally announced it was launchinbg a chatbot. Shortly after, a comedian tweeted a joke pairing a hairstyle with a sexual activity, and then asked the chatbot if it was real. The bot answered in the affirmative.

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