Google’s “AI-first” Strategy

On May 16 Peter Norvig, Research Director at Google, explained Google’s “AI first” vision in his Quora’s answer:  With information retrieval, anything over 80% recall and precision is pretty good—not every suggestion has to be perfect, since the user can ignore the bad suggestions. With assistance, there is a much higher barrier. You wouldn’t use a service that booked the wrong reservation 20% of the time, or even 2% of the time. So an assistant needs to be much more accurate, and thus more intelligent, more aware of the situation. That’s what we call “AI-first.

The most important part of the AI-first strategy is “context” like for all of us involved in real-world decision management.  You may read more in a just published article “AI First with UX” by Mike Loukides.

It’s magic when it tells you to leave early for an appointment because traffic is bad. But there are also some amazing things it can’t do. If I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled at 10 a.m., Google Calendar can’t prevent someone from scheduling a phone call from 9 to 10 a.m., even though it presumably knows that I need time to drive to my appointment. Furthermore, Google Now’s traffic prediction only works if I put the address in my calendar. It doesn’t say “Oh, if the calendar just says ‘doctor,’ he drives to this location.” (Even though my doctor, and his address, are in Google Contacts. And even though my phone knows where it is, either though GPS or triangulation of cell tower signals.) And I’m lazy: I don’t want to fill that stuff in by hand whenever I add an appointment. I just want to say “doctor.” If I have to put more detail into my calendar to enable AI assistance, that’s a net loss. I don’t want to spend time curating my calendar so an AI can assist me.

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