Media & Entertainment

Google details its latest language model and AI Test Kitchen, a showcase for AI research

Comment

Google logo
Image Credits: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

During the first of two Google I/O keynotes this week, Google announced LaMDA 2, the follow-up to an AI system, LaMDA, that the company introduced at Google I/O 2021. Short for Language Models for Dialog Applications, Google claims that LaMDA 2 can break down complex topics into straightforward, digestible explanations and steps as well as generate suggestions in response to questions.

LaMDA 2, an AI system built for “dialogue applications,” can understand millions of topics and generate “natural conversations” that never take the same path twice, Google says. Like most AI systems, LaMDA 2 learns how likely words are to occur in a body of text — usually a sentence — based on many, many examples of text. Examples come in the form of documents within training datasets, which contain terabytes to petabytes of data scraped from social media, Wikipedia, books, software hosting platforms like GitHub and other sources on the public web.

During an onstage segment of the keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pichai walked through a demo where a user asked LaMDA 2 to describe the Marianas Trench in a series of questions. The model responded to queries about what creatures might live in the trench and others pertaining to topics it hadn’t explicitly been trained to answer, such as submarines and bioluminescence. In another demo, LaMDA 2 provided tips about planting a vegetable garden, offering a list of tasks and subtasks germane to the garden’s location and what might be planted in the garden, like tomatoes, lettuce or garlic.

The jury’s out on LaMDA 2’s accuracy across tasks, however, considering that the system’s predecessor sometimes gave untruthful “facts” in internal tests — in one case repeatedly offering false information about Mount Everest. Pichai acknowledged that models like LaMDA 2 aren’t perfect but emphasized the sophistication of the technology’s high-level capabilities while pledging that work is ongoing to address the shortcomings.

LaMDA
Interacting with LaMDA 2, Google’s new language model. Image Credits: Google

“These experiences show the potential of language models to one day help us with things like planning, learning about the world and more,” Pichai said.

Alongside LaMDA 2, Google unveiled AI Test Kitchen, an interactive hub for AI demos powered by models like LaMDA 2. Available as an app, users can interact with the models in constrained ways, like exploring a particular topic with LaMDA 2 (e.g., dogs) and drilling down into subtopics within that topic (how dogs smell). Google says that it will continue to add “other emerging areas of AI” into AI Test Kitchen, both in the natural language processing domain and beyond it.

“Each [demo in AI Test Kitchen is] meant to give you a sense of what it might be like to have lambda in your hands and use it for things you care about,” Pichai said. “These are not products — they are quick sketches that allow us to explore what [models like LaMDA 2] can do with you.”

LaMDA
Image Credits: Google

AI Test Kitchen will roll out in the U.S. in the coming months but won’t be widely available. Google hasn’t fully decided how it will offer access, but according to The Verge, the company is weighing reaching out to select academics, researchers and policymakers to begin with.

"Read

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo