The tech industry is currently focused on exploring new uses of artificial intelligence (AI) to determine what will resonate with consumers. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, showcased at the company’s developer conference how their 3 billion users will soon be able to enhance their Instagram photos with digital effects and chat with AI-generated avatars of celebrities. Zuckerberg, who previously championed the future of a 3D metaverse, now believes that new forms of AI will enhance existing services rather than solely focusing on immersive experiences. This experimentation resembles the period before the launch of the iPhone, where various ideas were tested before Apple’s touchscreen handset defined the path forward.
Notably, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is also exploring ways to incorporate AI into new products and services. They recently announced new voice and image capabilities for ChatGPT, such as using the chatbot to help users decide what to have for dinner based on a picture of their fridge contents. OpenAI is also considering a collaboration with Sir Jony Ive, the designer of the iPhone, to develop purpose-built digital gadgets for their AI technology. This showcases two main fronts in the consumer AI race: multimodal systems that combine text, image, and voice understanding, and the exploration of AI-powered hardware that could potentially replace smartphones.
The competition in consumer technology is expected to be disrupted by these advancements. OpenAI’s voice services could potentially surpass those of Amazon, who recently promised to introduce chatbot-style intelligence to their Alexa-powered smart speakers. OpenAI claims to already have the ability to deliver voice services, while Amazon is still at the planning stage. Additionally, hardware innovation plays a crucial role, with numerous companies experimenting with wearables such as smart glasses and wristbands to create a more seamless AI experience. OpenAI’s interest in collaborating with Jony Ive suggests they are pursuing an “iPhone moment” that could revolutionize AI-powered devices, although the specific form of these gadgets and their applications remain uncertain. Overall, the tech industry is actively exploring new AI use cases and hardware innovations to determine which ideas will capture consumers’ interest and shape the future of AI-powered services.