Chapter 1: The Age of AI First

Google launched ‘Google Home’ at the #madebygoogle conference. At this conference, multiple interesting products were announced. Sundar Pichai, CEO Google also voiced his opinion and vision regarding future services of Google. Pichai stated, and I quote, that “we’re moving from mobile first to AI first.” In the end, Google wants everyone to have their own personal ’Google’(Google, 2016).

The dawn of an era with strong generalized Artificial Intelligence will have impact on our daily interactions and environment since it allows software and hardware to understand and anticipate our needs and desires. It is a shift from Intelligence Amplification towards Artificial Intelligence. Our smartphones now act as intermediary; they connect us to the world - when we ask them to. The future as envisioned by Google (and many more tech companies) is more singular at which technology is woven into our daily context (Google, 2016).

Learning is key
The company made huge improvements in the field of machine learning and AI. Natural language, voice and image recognition took a big leap in their ability to translate and speak in a more natural language and to recognise objects and patterns within photo’s. I personally found these improvements very impressive. Especially image recognition was really accurate with an accuracy of 93.3%. Google is now, more than ever, able to learn from us and to build meaningful profiles that can be used for several services.

The shift towards AI first
Pichai was not very specific in what he meant with AI first. The shown products gave a glimpse of this principle, but nothing was said about how this will be emerged in their product vision. I have an opinion about this after reading much about developments around AI. The thing is, we do not care anymore about storage, resolution or speed. Most of us are already spoiled with high-end smartphones. Now smart OS-systems like Siri, Cortana and Allo emerge, people will be more and more curious in how smart these systems actually are.

This information is not relevant yet, because now, Siri for example only reacts to requests and uses data that’s already there. In the future, smart OS-systems like Siri will be more proactive and also make suggestions based on available data. In this translation/interpretation the intellectual ability of this OS-system will be more relevant than ever. Will it have the intelligence of a kid of 9 or of an adult?

I believe that we as ‘consumers’ will be more focused on intellectual benefits rather than instrumental like storage, speed and resolution.