Google’s new AI can find missing specs

Google’s new AI can find missing specs

An AI system capable of interpreting information in images through phone cameras, in video and sound as well as in spoken language has been demonstrated by Google.

In one demo, a prototype AI-powered assistant running on a phone was able to answer the age-old question “where do I put my glasses”.

It comes a day after OpenAI unveiled its latest AI system, GPT-4o, which includes an eye-catching performance where it reads human expressions through a phone’s camera, and chats – and flirts – seamlessly.

Google seems keen to emphasize that its tool is capable of understanding so-called “multimodal” like its competitors.

In a sign of “whatever you can do, I can do better” style competition, Google has been teasing the ability of its system to run on phones before the OpenAI announcement.

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The firm showcased multimodal features in Gemini Nano, an AI assistant that runs “on device” on its Pixel phones and in the Gemini App.

It also showed a prototype fraud alert feature being tested for the Gemini Nano that can listen to phone calls and warn that it’s a scam, without any information about the call leaving the phone.

A new AI-powered demo was unveiled at Google I/O, the firm’s annual presentation for software developers.

A quick AI-powered transcription of the proceedings, by BBC News, suggests that the word “multimodal” appears at least 22 times.

Speakers such as Sir Demis Hassabis, head of Google Deepmind, repeatedly emphasized the firm’s long-standing interest in multimodal AI and emphasized that its models were “natively” able to handle images, video and sound and forge relationships between them.

He showcased the Astra project that explores the future of AI assistants. In a video demonstration of its capabilities, it can answer verbal questions about what it sees through the phone’s camera. At the end of the demo, a Google employee asked the virtual assistant where they had left their specs, and it replied that it had just seen them on a nearby table.

There is also a “live” demo using video while searching Google. A Google search was able to suggest ways to fix a broken record player, once it was shown to not work.

Also in the announcement:

AI-generated overviews – text that answers search questions before listed results – are rolling out across the US and will be rolled out to more countries soon. This is being tested in the UK.
AI-powered search for Google Photos to make it easy to find your snap collection.
An AI system that generates new images, videos and music – will be released as a preview to selected musicians, artists and filmmakers
New AI features like summarizing all emails on a specific topic will be given to Google stalwarts like Gmail.

And looking further into the future, there is also a demo of a prototype system that will create virtual “teammates” that can be told to perform specific tasks such as attending multiple online meetings at once.

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