Google has launched Gemini, a new artificial intelligence system that can seemingly understand and speak intelligently about almost any kind of prompt-pictures, text, speech, music, computer code, and much more.
Although Gemini’s capabilities might not be quite as advanced as they seemed in a viral video, which was edited from carefully curated text and still-image prompts, it is clear that AI systems are rapidly advancing.
To develop new capabilities, AI systems are highly dependent on the kind of “Training” data they have access to. At the moment, the data that companies such as Google, OpenAI, Meta, and others train their models on is still mainly harvested from digitized information on the internet.
There are efforts to radically expand the scope of the data that AI can work on. Google’s new Gemini system has shown that it can understand real-time content such as live video and human speech.
With new data and sensors, AI will be able to observe, discuss, and act upon occurrences in the real world. Self-driving cars, which already collect enormous amounts of data as they drive on our roads, are the most obvious example of this.
While early uses for this tech are familiar, such as optimizing heating for better energy usage, the understanding of habits will become much more advanced. This data could then be used by doctors to detect early onsets of ailments such as diabetes or dementia, as well as to recommend and follow up on changes in lifestyle.
As AI’s knowledge of the real world gets more comprehensive, it will act as a companion. There are enormous positive opportunities that come with all this new data, but there is an equal risk of overreach and intrusion on people’s privacy.
As we have seen, users have so far been more than happy to trade a staggering amount of their personal information in return for access to free products, such as social media and search engines. The trade-offs in the future will be even greater and potentially more dangerous, as AI gets to know and support us in every aspect of everyday life.
If given a chance, the industry will continue to expand its data collection into all aspects of life, even offline ones. They will need to monitor not just the power and pervasiveness of the new AI models, but also the content they collect.