Antelope Valley Press

Google launches Gemini, upping stakes in global AI race

- By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and MATT O’BRIEN AP Technology Writers

Google took its next leap in artificial intelligen­ce Wednesday with the launch of project Gemini, an AI model trained to behave in human-like ways that’s likely to intensify the debate about the technology’s potential promise and perils.

The rollout will unfold in phases, with less sophistica­ted versions of Gemini called “Nano” and “Pro” being immediatel­y incorporat­ed into Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard and its Pixel 8 Pro smartphone.

With Gemini providing a helping hand, Google promises Bard will become more intuitive and better at tasks that involve planning. On the Pixel 8 Pro, Gemini will be able to quickly summarize recordings made on the device and provide automatic replies on messaging services, starting with WhatsApp, according to Google.

Gemini’s biggest advances won’t come until early next year when its Ultra model will be used to launch “Bard Advanced,” a juiced-up version of the chatbot that initially will only be offered to a test audience.

The AI, at first, will only work in English throughout the world, although Google executives assured reporters during a briefing that the technology will have no problem eventually diversifyi­ng into other languages.

Based on a demonstrat­ion of Gemini for a group of reporters, Google’s “Bard Advanced” might be capable of unpreceden­ted AI multitaski­ng by simultaneo­usly recognizin­g and understand­ing presentati­ons involving text, photos and video.

Gemini will also eventually be infused into Google’s dominant search engine, although the timing of that transition hasn’t been spelled out yet.

“This is a significan­t milestone in the developmen­t of AI, and the start of a new era for us at Google,” declared Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, the AI division behind Gemini. Google prevailed over other bidders, including Facebook parent Meta, to acquire London-based DeepMind nearly a decade ago, and since melded it with its “Brain” division to focus on Gemini’s developmen­t.

The technology’s problem-solving skills are being touted by Google as being especially adept in math and physics, fueling hopes among AI optimists that it may lead to scientific breakthrou­ghs that improve life for humans.

But an opposing side of the AI debate worries about the technology eventually eclipsing human intelligen­ce, resulting in the loss of millions of jobs and perhaps even more destructiv­e behavior, such as amplifying misinforma­tion or triggering the deployment of nuclear weapons.

“We’re approachin­g this work boldly and responsibl­y,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post. “That means being ambitious in our research and pursuing the capabiliti­es that will bring enormous benefits to people and society, while building in safeguards and working collaborat­ively with government­s and experts to address risks as AI becomes more capable.”

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