Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

Digital Assistants Offer to Make Lives Easier for People

Digital Assistants Offer to Make Lives Easier for People

The demo - which showed a voice assistant call a hair saloon and book an appointment on behalf of a customer - was nothing short of wonderful, and it just goes to show how far ahead Google is in terms of voice-based AI assistants and conversational, natural language processing.

The new visual experience is making its way to Google Assistant on Android first this summer, followed by iOS later in the year. It was created 15 years ago simply to organize news articles so users could see a wide variety of sources on a topic and hasn't really seen a major upgrade since.

Google Assistant, though still in development, is becoming capable of making phone calls and having intelligent conversations for users the way an avatar might do it, only there's nothing robotic or unnatural about how it works.

Another feature called "shush" mode automatically turns on the "Do Not Disturb" function if someone turns their phone face down on a table.

"It uses artificial intelligence to bring forward the best of human intelligence - great reporting done by journalists around the globe - and will help you stay on top of what's important to you", Pichai said of overhauled Google News.

Google will conduct early testing of Duplex-the AI engine inside Assistant-this summer specifically to help users make the type of hair and restaurant reservations noted above. "I'll make you an appointment and update you soon".

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And so, reactions to Google Duplex haved mainly played out in two ways: People are blown away by what Google has created, and how far their AI efforts have come.

"We're still developing this technology, and we want to work hard to get this right", Pichai pointed out at the I/O conference.

Gmail gets smarter: Smart Compose, the dandy new feature is a machine learning based feature which not only predicts words, but entire phrases are rendered - just keep hitting the Tab button and Google will keep auto-completing sentences.

"Presumably there will need to be some regulation on what a bot needs to do in terms of announcing that it is a bot - this is already visible in online forums for example like Reddit where the bot posting makes it clear that they are a bot", he said. It can also convert photos to PDFs and automatically add color to black-and-white photos or make part of a color photo black and white. That could present thorny issues for the future use of AI. The changes are coming in the next two months. The move is tantamount to the company's focus on natural language processing (NLP), neural networks, and computer vision.

Other than starting a wave, the attendees at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, don't seem that into it.

LG's 2018 AI TVs can perform hundreds of voice commands utilizing the company's own open smart platform as well as the built-in Google Assistant. When you do so, the Assistant will be able to place a call to the restaurant, salon etc. and have a conversation with a real person to set appointments for you. It went back and made improvements.

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