Google Introduces Gemini, Raising the Bar in the Global AI Race

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Google Introduces Gemini, Raising the Bar in the Global AI Race
Google Introduces Gemini, Raising the Bar in the Global AI Race

Google made another step forward in artificial intelligence with the debut of Project Gemini, an AI model programmed to behave in human-like ways.

Google took another step forward in artificial intelligence on Wednesday with the announcement of Project Gemini, an AI model programmed to behave in human-like ways, which is certain to fuel debate about the technology’s potential benefits and drawbacks.

The distribution will happen in stages, with less complex versions of Gemini termed “Nano” and “Pro” being incorporated into Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard and its Pixel 8 Pro smartphone right now. Google promises that with Gemini’s assistance, Bard will become more intuitive and adept at tasks requiring preparation.

According to Google, Gemini on the Pixel 8 Pro will be able to swiftly summarize recordings made on the device and deliver automatic replies on messaging platforms, beginning with WhatsApp.

Gemini’s most significant advancements will not arrive until early next year, when its Ultra model will be utilized to create “Bard Advanced,” a beefed-up version of the chatbot that will initially be available exclusively to a test audience.

The AI will initially only work in English around the world, but Google executives promised reporters during a conference that the technology will eventually be able to work in other languages.

According to a Gemini demonstration, Google’s “Bard Advanced” may be capable of unparalleled AI multitasking by detecting and interpreting presentations comprising text, images, and video.

Gemini will also eventually be integrated into Google’s dominating search engine, though the exact timing has yet to be determined.

“This is a significant milestone in the development of AI and the start of a new era for us at Google,” Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, the AI division behind Gemini, said. Google beat out other bidders, including Facebook parent Meta, about a decade ago to acquire London-based DeepMind and has subsequently merged it with its “Brain” division to focus on Gemini’s growth.

Google touts the technology’s problem-solving abilities as being particularly adept in arithmetic and physics, sparking optimism among AI optimists that it would lead to scientific breakthroughs that would improve human existence.

However, one side of the AI debate is concerned that the technology could someday supplant human intellect, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs and possibly even more destructive conduct, such as spreading misinformation or triggering the deployment of nuclear weapons.

“We’re approaching this work boldly and responsibly,” stated Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “That means being ambitious in our research and pursuing capabilities that will provide enormous benefits to people and society, while also incorporating safeguards and collaborating with governments and experts to address risks.”

The entry of Gemini is likely to raise the stakes in an AI race that has been heating up over the last year, with San Francisco upstarting OpenAI and long-time industry rival Microsoft.

OpenAI was already well into constructing its most powerful AI model, GPT-4, when it introduced the free ChatGPT tool late last year, backed by Microsoft’s financial muscle and computer power. That AI-powered chatbot skyrocketed to global renown, bringing attention to the commercial possibilities of generative AI and putting pressure on Google to remove Bard in response.

OpenAI introduced GPT-4 in March, just before Bard was on the market, and has since been adding new capabilities targeting consumers and business users, including a feature unveiled in November that allows the chatbot to evaluate photos. It’s been fighting for business with rival AI businesses like Anthropic and even its partner, Microsoft, which has exclusive rights to OpenAI’s technology in exchange for the billions of dollars it’s invested in the venture.

OpenAI introduced GPT-4 in March, just before Bard was on the market, and has since been adding new capabilities targeting consumers and business users, including a feature unveiled in November that allows the chatbot to evaluate photos. It’s been fighting for business with rival AI businesses like Anthropic and even its partner, Microsoft, which has exclusive rights to OpenAI’s technology in exchange for the billions of dollars it’s invested in the venture.

So far, the cooperation has benefited Microsoft, which has seen its market value rise by more than 50% this year, owing to investors’ conviction that AI will become a gold mine for the IT industry. Alphabet, Google’s corporate parent, has also been riding the same wave, with its market value increasing by more than $500 billion, or approximately 45%, this year. Despite the recent buzz surrounding Gemini, Alphabet’s stock fell marginally in trade on Wednesday.

Microsoft’s increased involvement in OpenAI over the last year, combined with OpenAI’s more aggressive commercialization efforts, has generated fears that the non-profit has veered from its core aim of protecting humans as technology advances.

Those concerns were heightened last month when OpenAI’s board abruptly ousted CEO Sam Altman in a fight over unknown trust difficulty. Following a reaction that threatened to destroy the firm and result in a major migration of AI engineering talent to Microsoft, OpenAI reinstated Altman as CEO and restructured its board.

With the release of Gemini, OpenAI may find itself attempting to demonstrate that its technology is still smarter than Google’s.

“I am in awe of what it’s capable of,” said Eli Collins, vice president of product at Google DeepMind.

Google declined to publish Gemini’s parameter count—one but not the only measure of a model’s complexity—during a virtual press conference. The most proficient version of Gemini outperformed GPT-4 on multiple-choice examinations, grade-school math, and other benchmarks, according to a white paper released Wednesday, but highlighted persistent challenges in developing AI models to acquire higher-level reasoning skills.

Some computer scientists believe that massive language models, which work by repeatedly guessing the next word in a sentence and are prone to making up errors known as hallucinations, have limitations.

“With Gemini, we made tremendous progress in what is known as factuality. As a result, Gemini is our best model in this area. But it remains, in my opinion, an unsolved scientific challenge.” Collins stated.

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