I always have this thing for artificial intelligence (AI).
Mainly because adjectives such as “effortless”, “seamless”, “futuristic”, and the likes come to mind when I think of anything related to AI.
In addition, a large part of my fascination and intrigue with AI comes from binging on the 2004 movie “I, Robot” starring Will Smith.
The developmental progress of AI has taken huge leaps since the past one to two decades; AI is no longer merely associated with bulky robots that look like humans (like those in Terminators) — they have evolved into so much more.
From Microsoft having recently integrated GPT-4 into Windows and Bing, as well as OpenAI unveiling the most advanced AI-image generator to date and having equipped ChatGPT with multimodal capabilities, and more, AI is a lot more common.
It has also taken centre stage in Google’s latest product showcase, as the company unveils a wave of innovation centred around AI-driven enhancements.
At the recently concluded Made by Google event, Google introduced its latest offerings, including the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro smartphones.
These devices are propelled by the new Tensor G3 chips designed to harness the power of AI.
However, the true headline-stealer of the event was the revelation of Assistant with Bard — an AI-enriched digital assistant.
Sissie Hsiao, Vice President at Google and General Manager for Google Assistant and BardGoogle said in an official announcement:
“It combines Bard’s generative and reasoning capabilities with Assistant’s personalised help. Bard aims to bring slick AI capabilities to your personal conversations, like a next-gen ChatGPT. You can interact with it through text, voice or images — and it can even help take actions for you.”
Google has laid out an ambitious plan to introduce this dual powerhouse into Android and iOS devices over the upcoming months, ushering in an era of enhanced user experiences driven by its multifaceted capabilities.
Google touts this advancement as a “more personalised helper,” extending its capabilities to assist users seamlessly in platforms like Gmail and Google Docs.
However, this AI initiative unfolds against the backdrop of heightened antitrust scrutiny, with Google’s dominance in search and digital advertising coming under intense scrutiny.
As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently testified, there is a growing sentiment that we might be transitioning from the “open web” to a “Google web.”
Satya raised concerns about the potential for Google’s expanding integration of AI to further consolidate its influence, potentially making competition in the realm of search even more challenging in the age of AI.
What Other Offerings Do Google’s New Phones Have?
Google’s latest Pixel phone offerings come equipped with an array of exclusive AI-driven camera features designed to elevate photography to new heights.
One such innovation is “Best Take,” a feature that employs algorithms to amalgamate the finest elements from multiple photos.
For instance, it combines moments such as wide-open eyes and beaming smiles from various individuals in a group shot into a single, optimised composite image.
These new devices also offer an impressive suite of AI-powered capabilities, including video noise reduction, an image optimiser that rectifies blurriness and imperfections, and a segmentation model that empowers users to manipulate and edit photos in ways that were previously the domain of professional image editors.
With pricing set at $700 for the base model and $1,000 for the Pro version, Google has set high expectations for its AI capabilities.
Would I get myself their new Google pixel phone with that affordable price tag? Well, no. Not because all that AI capabilities are not attractive; but because I am a staunch loyal Apple customer — once an iPhone user, always an iPhone user.
Notably, Google has made a bold promise of providing seven years of software updates for its Pixel devices, a commitment that could potentially spur a race among rival mobile manufacturers to extend their update timelines.
It looks like the world is hurtling toward an AI-driven future technology evolving at a pace that leaves us marvelling at the possibilities.
I hope that we will be able to witness more innovations in our lifetime.