It is unsurprising that companies such as Google are introducing new cutting-edge products in the age of Artificial Intelligence. One such product is Duet AI for Google Workspace, which incorporates novel artificial intelligence technology into some of its most commonly utilised tools.
During the Google I/O developer conference, Google announced that with Duet AI for Gmail and Docs, users will have the capability to rely on Google for drafting emails or word processing documents by providing brief text prompts.
Sundar Pichai, the Chief Executive, showcased the "Help me write" feature by responding to an airline's customer service message, initially with a concise reply and then with a longer alternative intended to convey a greater sense of gravity.
"Just type in the prompt of what you want in an email to ask for a full refund, hit Create, and a full draft appears. It conveniently pulled in flight details from the previous email. In this case, a more elaborate email might increase the chances of getting the refund," Pichai said at the conference.
Furthermore, text prompts will enable the creation of spreadsheets in Google Sheets, such as a chart for a pet service provider to keep track of their customers and their dogs. Additionally, Google Slides will offer the ability to generate images based on text prompts, adding visual appeal to presentations.
These features serve as a testament to the capabilities of modern "generative" AI, which introduces a fresh creative dimension to machine learning technology that has undergone significant advancements over the past decade.
Generative AI, with notable examples like OpenAI's ChatGPT, has sparked the imagination of individuals who utilize it for creative endeavours like poetry writing or programming.
However, generative AI has also raised concerns among school administrators who anticipate an increase in cheating, as well as fears that computers may render certain white-collar professions, such as tax advisors or paralegal assistants, obsolete.
While Google's new tools are not currently accessible, the company has established a Workspace Labs waitlist where interested individuals can enroll. Since initially introducing these products in March, Google has expanded the number of "trusted testers" who are experimenting with them.
During a briefing about the features, Aparna Pappu, the general manager of Google Workspace productivity tools, expressed astonishment at the remarkably intriguing, clever, and creative ways in which people are utilizing this feature.
Examples of such utilisation include writing job applications, reference letters, essays, and formal thank-you notes following a job interview.
The term "duet" reflects the strategic approach of technology companies in presenting AI as an assistant that enhances user actions, akin to an amplified version of autocorrect or grammar check.
Microsoft, a competitor to Google, has also adopted a similar approach by branding its AI-enhanced productivity tools as Microsoft 365 Copilot. Similar to Duet AI, Copilot is currently undergoing limited testing.
Pappu mentioned that Google intends to introduce an element of spontaneity and experimentation through the "Help me write" feature, incorporating a revised version of the longstanding "I'm feeling lucky" button.
This button, which has long added a touch of serendipity to Google's search engine, will allow users to take a slightly adventurous approach to their writing endeavours. “When you try that, sometimes you get a haiku, sometimes you get an email in a pirate voice. It's just a little bit of fun," she said.