5 things about AI you may have missed today: Google Bard gets update, Elon Musk on AI consciousness, more

While the whole world is debating the merits and demerits of Artificial intelligence (AI), advancements in the field continue at a rapid pace. Google recently announced several new features for its generative AI program Google Bard including the ability to speak its answers. Moreover, the AI chatbot is finally available in the EU. In other news, Elon Musk provided his thoughts on AI consciousness.

All this, and more in our roundup of the 5 big things in AI that you may have missed today.

1. Google Bard gets new features

In a blog post, Google announced new additions to its generative AI chatbot Bard. Starting today, users will be able to collaborate with Bard in over 40 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, German, Hindi, and Spanish. Moreover, it is now accessible in more places, including Brazil and Europe. Apart from this, you can now also listen to Bard’s responses, with the feature being made available in over 40 languages.

2. AI robots could help combat loneliness

Researchers at the University of Auckland have developed AI-powered companion robots that could help alleviate loneliness. In a recently published study, researchers revealed that AI companion robots could help reduce stress and loneliness by providing companionship, which currently plagues about one-third of the global population. This could be particularly useful for elderly people as these robots could help them remain active in their homes.

Professor Elizabeth Broadbent, of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland said, “AI presents exciting opportunities to give companion robots greater skills to build social connection. But we need to be careful to build in rules to ensure they are moral and trustworthy.”

3. Can AI become conscious? Elon Musk has the answer

After announcing the formation of his xAI, Elon Musk was asked if AI could become conscious by Lex Friedman, a research scientist at MIT. Musk replied, “I often wonder where consciousness starts, as we progress from one cell to ~35 trillion cells. If the Standard Model is correct, then quarks & leptons become “conscious” no later than ~13.8B years from start, assuming there are no sentient aliens. Btw, where are the aliens!?”

4. Google Project Tailwind unveiled as NotebookLM

First introduced as Project Tailwind at the Google I/O 2023 in May, Google has unveiled NotebookLM, an “AI-first notebook” aimed at assisting students to enhance their organizational skills and stay on top of their academic activities. Unlike ChatGPT which relies on massive datasets, NotebookLM takes information from an individual’s specific data set, the company revealed in a blog post. In a process known as “source grounding”, the chatbot selectively retrieves information solely from their personalized data, ensuring the responses are directly relevant to their context.

5. China issues temporary rules on generative AI

To keep its thriving AI industry in check, China has published interim guidelines on the use of generative AI, according to a report by Reuters. While the guidelines were initially formulated 3 months ago, this latest draft takes a softer approach with regulators seeking to “support the development of the technology”. The rules, described as “interim” by Beijing, will come into effect on August 15.

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