May 8 (UPI) — Google expressed a commitment to artificial intelligence and implementing it responsibly at its developers conference Tuesday.
During Google’s I/O conference, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will implement AI into its Gmail, Maps and its smart Assistant programs, while acknowledging the company can’t be “wide-eyed” about the potential positive and negative impacts of the technology.
After news broke earlier this year about Cambridge Analytica harvesting data of up to 87 million Facebook users, technology companies like Google have come under increased scrutiny.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged commitment to privacy last week in a keynote address at the F8 conference. Monday at Microsoft’s annual Build conference in Seattle, CEO Satya Nadella told developers the industry needs to ensure technology is responsible and ethical.
“There are very real and important questions being raised about the impact of these advances, and the role they will play in our lives,” Pichai said. “We know the path ahead needs to be navigated carefully and deliberately. We feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right.”
The company also showed off an update to its Google Assistant computer software that allows it to make a phone call to schedule a haircut appointment or make a restaurant reservation.
In addition to adding six new voices for Google Assistant, including singer John Legend, the company used AI to allow the software to implement natural pauses and follow-up questions to make it sound more like a human.
Another new Google Assistant feature known as “pretty please” aims to foster good manners in young children by encouraging them to use phrases such as “please” when asking for assistance.
The company will also apply AI to its News app and its web equivalent to provide a more varied scope of news coverage.
The updated version of the app will use AI to analyze each story and evaluate its quality and type, in addition to adding personalized stories based on a user’s location and preferred sources and topics.
In order to address issues of “digital well-being,” Google’s new Android mobile operating system, known as Android P, includes features designed to encourage people to use their phones less often.
The new operating system will feature a new dashboard that informs users how much time they spend on their device and an app timer that sends a notification and grays out the screen when an app is being used for an extended period of time.