Listening to Mark Zuckerberg last week, it’s hard not to conclude that when it comes to artificial intelligence, most of the tech industry is throwing around any ideas they can think of to see which ones will work. The Meta CEO used his company’s annual developer conference to show how its users,… Numbering three billion, they will soon be doing things like decorating their Instagram photos with new digital effects or chatting via text with AI-generated avatars of celebrities. Zuckerberg has spent much of the past year downplaying the short-term prospects of the interactive 3D metaverse he has long touted. Instead, he was promoting the idea that new forms of artificial intelligence would enhance all of his company’s existing services. He said last week that he once thought people would buy Meta augmented reality glasses to see dramatic holograms superimposed on the real world. Now, he thinks, they are more likely to buy them for more practical reasons, such as the ability to see brief text descriptions of the things they are looking at. Which, if any, of these new uses for artificial intelligence will catch on? Can any of them ignite the enthusiasm that followed the arrival of GBT chat last year? The experience is very similar to the era of mobile computing that preceded the launch of the iPhone. Many in the technology industry were convinced that the integration of computing and mobile communications would bring about a new era. They were right about that — but it wasn’t until Apple introduced its first touchscreen phone in 2007 that the way forward became clear. Zuckerberg is by no means alone in this search for the formula that will take AI to the masses. OpenAI, the company behind GBT Chat, is also exploring ways to integrate its technology into new services and products. Last week, the AI startup announced new audio and video capabilities for GBT Chat. If you take a photo of the contents of your fridge, the chatbot can help you decide what to have for dinner and guide you to the recipe, the company said. Or you could ask him to settle a discussion at the dinner table, without requiring everyone to tap on their smartphones. It has also emerged that OpenAI is looking into partnering with Sir John Ive, the designer of the iPhone, to create new digital devices tailored to its new technology. The latest efforts by Meta and OpenAI highlight the opening up of two major fronts in the race. Consumer AI. One is the emergence of so-called multimedia systems that combine the understanding of text, image and sound. A year or two ago, the technologies involved were running on parallel but separate paths: OpenAI’s DAL-E2 image generator was making waves in the AI space long before GPT Chat was released. Combining the two into the same service creates even more possibilities. Google has been trying to innovate multimedia models for even longer. This could shake up the competition in consumer technology. For example, the launch of “Open AI” for voice services may lead it to overtake Amazon, which promised last week to integrate intelligence similar to chatbots into its smart speakers that run on the Alexa system. But while Amazon is still describing what it can do, OpenAI says it can now make it happen. There’s another new front involving hardware in this consumer AI race. Expectations that smartphones will be replaced by new devices that are less intrusive and more AI-friendly are not new. Both big tech companies and startups have been experimenting for years with smart glasses, wristbands and other “wearables” designed to create a more seamless technology experience than a mobile phone. OpenAI’s exploration of new AI-powered devices is still at an early stage. But its interest in collaborating with Eve suggests it sees an opportunity to achieve “iPhone glory,” which would have the same impact as Apple’s smartphone on mobile communications. It’s hard to predict exactly what form that will take — or what these new devices will be used for. Zuckerberg concluded the Meta Developer Conference last week with a demo in which he used his company’s smart glasses to stream live video from the front seat of a race car. It was a strange throwback to the early 2010s and the early days of augmented reality, when Google introduced its then-revolutionary Glasses to the world with a similar demo. It was easy to imagine that we would all be wearing smart glasses by now. More than a decade later, it’s still difficult to know exactly how the next generation of AI-powered services will infiltrate our daily lives.
#Artificial #intelligence #fever #raging