Weâ€™re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world... We are building a personal Google for everyone, everywhere. ~Sundar Pichai
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Artificial Intelligence
These lines from Sundar Pichai:
Weâ€™re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world.
We are excited about building a personal Google for everyone, everywhere.
Natasha Lomas explains:
The scope of Alphabetâ€™s ambition for the Google brand is clear: It wants Googleâ€™s information organizing brain to be embedded right at the domestic center â€” i.e. where itâ€™s all but impossible for consumers not to feed it with a steady stream of highly personal data. (Sure, thereâ€™s a mute button on the Google Home, but the fact you have to push a button to shut off the ear speaks volumesâ€¦ )
In other words, your daily business is Googleâ€™s business.
â€śWeâ€™re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world,â€ť said CEO Sundar Pichai kicking off yesterdayâ€™s event. And AI, of course, has an appetite for data like no other technology before it. Machine learning needs information to mold its utility. Itâ€™s a data-powered circle that canâ€™t function in the dark.
The Alphabet vision for hardware â€śMade by Googleâ€ť is thus to sell the pledge of convenience to consumers. And through this sales pitch, and its accompanying suite of connect-it-all devices, to transform personal spaces into rich repositories of user intel that can continue to fuel its ad-targeting engines for decades to come.
I didn't realize how much the Google branding matters to Alphabet until Natasha pointed it out.
Weâ€™ve very far beyond the moment inÂ the modern information age whenÂ most of theÂ queries and curiosities ofÂ digital consumers could beÂ funneled into a single, Google-branded search engine. Hence, the company (formerly also wearingÂ the Google brand name) working so long and hardÂ to push Androidâ€™s reach as far and wide as possible, beyond phones to a huge range ofÂ hardware.
And now Alphabet is seeking to accelerate that processÂ with a consumer-facing, AI-powered service layer that worksÂ toÂ make Google just as hard toÂ avoid as it used to be, back in the days of the simpler desktop web.
So yesterdayâ€™s big connected hardware unboxing is really aboutÂ reinvigorating and repositioning the Google brand asÂ the go-to keyword for the Internet of Things era, too.
Notably, and unlike rivalÂ virtual assistant technologies such asÂ Amazonâ€™s Alexa and Appleâ€™s Siri, Alphabet is firmly retaining the Google brand name here at the consumer-facing end of the AI pipe â€” requiring thoseÂ who buy into its smart home andÂ AI assistant to giveÂ literalÂ voice to the Google brand, day after day, hour after hour.
â€śOK Google, turn off the lights in the kidsâ€™ bedroomâ€¦ â€ť
Thatâ€™s icky enough in my view.Â But whatâ€™s reallyÂ notÂ OK,Â GoogleÂ is the seismicÂ privacy trade-offs involved here. And the way in which Alphabet works toÂ skateÂ over the surface of theseÂ concerns.
â€śWe want to help you get things done in your world,â€ť wasÂ Pichaiâ€™s pitch for the Google-branded smart home â€” and Googleâ€™s AI generally.
â€śWe are excited about building a personal Google for everyone, everywhere,â€ť was another of his marketing soundbites, putting a few threads on thisÂ sharp-elbowedÂ rushÂ forÂ AI.
Yes â€” he literally said that:
What he does not say is far more interesting,Â i.e. thatÂ in order to offer its promise of â€ścustom convenienceâ€ť â€” with predictions about restaurantsÂ you might like to eat at, say, or suggestions for how bad the traffic might be on your commute to work â€” it isÂ continuously harvesting and data-mining yourÂ personal information, preferences, predilections, peccadilloes, prejudicesâ€¦ Â and so on and on and on.Â
AI never stops needing data. Not where fickle humans are concerned.ÂSo the actual price for building a â€śpersonal Google for everyone, everywhereâ€ť would in fact be zero privacy for everyone, everywhere.
So the actual price for buildingÂ a â€śpersonal Google for everyone, everywhereâ€ť would in fact be zero privacy for everyone, everywhere.
Doesnâ€™t sound quite so OK, Google, now does it?
(One colleague tells how heÂ previously switched offÂ the antecedent to Google Assistant, Google Now, after it started telling him about traffic times to get to a bar he sometimes goes to on Sunday nights, with the complaint that: â€śI donâ€™t want you to know about this.â€ť)
So while we should not be surprised to findÂ zero mention of security and privacy in Pichaiâ€™s pitch for a â€śpersonal Google,â€ť norÂ should weÂ give Google a pass for failing to be transparent withÂ consumers aboutÂ the massive trade-off they are making when they pay for its hardware with their privacy (and their cash!).