Google's AI subsidiary, DeepMind, is in the process of developing tools that could serve as a personal life coach, as reported by The New York Times. These tools are designed to assist users in both personal and professional tasks. For instance, one of the tasks being tested allows the AI to provide advice on how to communicate to a close friend that they cannot attend their destination wedding due to financial constraints.
Concerns Over Emotional Attachment
Previously, AI safety experts at DeepMind had expressed concerns to the company's executives about the potential risks of users forming strong emotional bonds with chatbots. The shift towards creating an AI that delves into personal situations indicates a change in the company's stance on this matter.
Expert Involvement and Competition
To ensure the effectiveness and safety of this new tool, over 100 experts holding doctorates have been brought in by ScaleAI for testing. Based in San Francisco, ScaleAI is an AI firm established in 2016 by Alexander Wang and Lucy Guo. They provide an API designed for verifying and preparing data for software applications. The company aids in speeding up AI projects by producing top-tier foundational data, incorporating sophisticated LiDAR, image, video, and NLP annotation APIs, enabling AI businesses to develop unique models.
This move by Google suggests an effort to gain a competitive edge in the AI industry. Other companies have already been exploring the capabilities of ChatGPT in the realm of mental health therapy. Additionally, the chatbot from Inflection AI, Inflection AI, a conversational AI studio founded by former DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and former Google Brain lead Karén Simonyan, has been designed to function as a personal assistant.
In response to these developments, a spokesperson from DeepMind stated, “We have long worked with a variety of partners to evaluate our research and products across Google, which is a critical step in building safe and helpful technology. At any time there are many such evaluations ongoing. Isolated samples of evaluation data are not representative of our product road map.”
Background on Google's AI Initiatives
Earlier in the year, Google, aiming to enhance its AI research and stay ahead of competitors like Microsoft and OpenAI, merged DeepMind, a research lab it had acquired in London, with Brain, its AI team based in Silicon Valley. This merger was part of Google's broader strategy to bolster its position in the AI sector.