Google I/O 2021: During its big developer conference Google I/O, the search engine giant demonstrated what its experimental LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) model can do. Google prides itself for its work in the area of language, and so, it was no surprise that during the keynote, it also demonstrated the various developments in its AI language understanding. However, what stole the show was its presentation of LaMDA’s capabilities. In fact, this was presented by Google CEO Sundar Pichai himself. Google has said that this technology could at some point even allow its AI assistants to have more natural conversations with users.
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The CEO praised the technology, saying that the model was able to carry out conversations on any topic, keeping it “sensible and interesting”. But he also clarified that the research on the technology was still in its infancy and therefore, is not able to get everything right quite yet.
Even as it is still being developed, Google decided to demonstrate the abilities that they have been able to develop so far. In a video, the search engine giant shared two conversations, in one of which, the model pretended to be the dwarf planet Pluto, and in the second one it was acting as a paper plane.
— Google (@Google) May 18, 2021
However, the biggest and oldest function that Google has served is providing accurate information to users, and this feature is also being worked into the LaMDA model. Pichai highlighted that during the conversation where the model was acting as Pluto, it referred to concrete facts and events, including the 2015 Horizons probe that visited the dwarf planet.
The Google CEO also noted that most of the company’s work in AI revolves around the retrieval of information. This ranges from translation of other languages to deepening the understanding of what a user’s web search means. This core product is bound to be improved if AI is able to understand language better.
However, the journey of training an AI to have natural conversations is not easy. Pichai said that humans use language to crack jokes, share ideas as well as to tell stories, and this language flexibility is among “humanity’s greatest tools”, but this also poses a complex challenge for computer sciences, the CEO added.