Google’s big bet on AI, and a new human genome map
The news: Google is stuffing powerful new AI tools into tons of its existing products and launching a slew of new ones, including a coding assistant, it announced at its annual I/O conference on Wednesday.
What’s changing: Billions of users will soon see Google’s latest AI language mode, PaLM 2, integrated into over 25 products like Maps, Docs, Gmail, Sheets, and the company’s chatbot, Bard, which it’s opening up to a bigger pool of users. This is the company’s biggest push yet to integrate the latest wave of AI technology into a variety of products.
Why it matters: Because of safety and reputational risks, Google has been slower than competitors to launch AI-powered products. But fierce competition from competitors like Microsoft, OpenAI and others have left it feeling it has no choice but to push ahead. Experts warn that it’s a risky strategy that could backfire and run afoul of the regulators. Read the full story.
This new genome map tries to capture all human genetic variation
After more than 20 years of claiming they completed the human genome project, researchers have announced yet another version of the human genome map.
Whereas past versions of the project claimed to be a draft of the genetic blueprint for a human being, this update combines the complete DNA of 47 diverse individuals—Africans, Native Americans, and Asians, among other groups—into one giant genetic atlas that they say better captures the genetic diversity of our species.
The new map, called a “pangenome,” has been a decade in the making, and researchers say it will only get bigger. Crucially, it could hold exciting possibilities for diagnosing rare diseases. Read the full story.