Google is reportedly testing artificial intelligence tools aimed at offering life advice, opening the door for the technology to perform tasks the company’s own experts warned should be avoided, the New York Times reported.
In its quest to compete with the Microsoft-funded OpenAI, in April, Google merged the research lab DeepMind with its artificial intelligence team, Brain.
Since the merger, the groups have started testing new tools that could transform the generative artificial intelligence used in chatbots like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard into what amounts to a life coach.
According to documents reviewed by the New York Times, Google Deep Mind’s new generative AI tools can perform more than 20 different kinds of professional and personal tasks, including providing life advice, planning instruction, ideas, and tutoring tips.
Scale AI, a company working with DeepMind, has assembled teams of highly-trained experts to test the capabilities of Google’s generative AI, assessing the tool’s responses, including testing its responses to questions about the intimate challenges users may face, sources told the Times.
The developments mark a distinct shift from Google’s previous caution on generative artificial intelligence.
In December, the company’s AI safety experts warned of the dangers of users becoming too dependent on the technology and suggested that users may experience a “loss of agency” and “diminished health and well-being” if they started taking life advice from artificial intelligence.
When Google launched Bard in March, the company said the chatbot would not give legal, financial, or medical advice.
The new AI tools are still under evaluation and Google may opt against employing any of them.
A spokeswoman for Google Deep Mind told the New York Times that the company has long worked with various partners to evaluate its products and research, which she said is a “critical step in building safe and helpful technology.” She said that the “isolated samples” noted in the Times report “are not representative of our product road map.”