The recent launch of OpenAI’s AI chatbot ChatGPT has caused concern within Google, company plans to “demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year” and unveil more than 20 projects powered by artificial intelligence.
Google’s AI Ambitions
Google has been investing heavily in AI technology for some time, but concerns about moving too quickly and causing harm to the company’s reputation have held back its roll-out. However, things are changing quickly. Earlier this month, Google announced it’s laying off more than 12,000 employees and focusing on AI as a domain of primary importance.
In a recent slide presentation viewed by The New York Times, Google executives announced that the company plans to launch a demo of its AI search engine this year, with no specific timeframe mentioned. However, other projects from the presentation are set to debut during Google’s annual I/O event in May, which has previously launched features like Duplex and Google Glass.
Google’s AI search demo aims to prioritize “getting facts right, ensuring safety and getting rid of misinformation,” in order to address the issue of AI responding to queries confidently and clearly with bad information. The company is also working on ways to speed up review processes that are supposed to check the technology to see if it’s operating in ways that are fair and ethical.
New Product Launches
The report also mentions new product launches from Google, including an image generation studio that “creates and edits images,” an app for testing product prototypes, and a set of tools that other businesses can use to create AI prototypes from within a browser window called MakerSuite.
The company is also working on a code generation tool called PaLM-Coder 2 that’s similar to Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot software and another that helps build apps for smartphones named Colab + Android Studio.
Google’s AI Ethics
In recent years, Google has been cautious when it comes to the release of new AI products. The company found itself at the center of a debate over the ethics of artificial intelligence after firing two prominent researchers in the field, Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell. The pair laid out criticisms of AI language models, noting challenges like their propensity to amplify biases in their training data and present false information as fact.
Although Google’s AI research is thought to be as advanced as that of other prominent tech companies, it’s only tested software with particularly restrictive guardrails. The firm’s AI Test Kitchen app, for example, offers access to image and text generation tools similar to OpenAI’s DALL-E and ChatGPT. However, Google heavily restricts the requests users can make of these systems. The company already showed off some of its own chat-heavy AI products, including a nonpublic demo in 2021 of a system similar to ChatGPT.