Google Tries to Catch Up to Rivals Like OpenAI as They Release Viral Apps
Comment of the Day

January 27 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Google Tries to Catch Up to Rivals Like OpenAI as They Release Viral Apps

This article from the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Unlike OpenAI and other startups such as Stability AI, Google has released its most powerful image- and text-generation models only to a limited group of testers. Google executives in recent years have stressed the need to test new artificial-intelligence tools for signs of bias while guarding against potential misuse, concerns shared by many academics.

Such caution has at times frustrated researchers at groups such as the artificial-intelligence unit Google Brain, some of whom have left to raise money for their own startups where they can more easily release new products, said people familiar with the matter.

Last week, the head of Google's research division, Jeff Dean, published a more-than-7,000-word blog post summarizing the company's recent work in artificial intelligence, writing that the developments are "making their way into real user experiences that will dramatically change how we interact with computers."

The pressures add to a difficult business environment for Google, whose search and ad-tech operations have both been targeted by Justice Department lawsuits. Google also announced the largest layoffs in company history last week, cutting about 12,000 employees.

"We have long been focused on developing and deploying AI to improve people's lives," a Google spokeswoman said. "We believe that AI is foundational and transformative technology that is incredibly useful for individuals, businesses and communities, and as our AI Principles outline, we need to consider the broader societal impacts these innovations can have."

Eoin Treacy's view

Google had a reservation robot system running in 2018. It automatically made calls to the restaurant when an online booking system was not available. They got so much backlash against robots taking jobs that it essentially canned the program. Today apps like Opentable or Fork have grown to capture more of the booking market but that does not negate the fact robo caller tech is at least five years old. 

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