Tech multinationals shock users with accelerated AI race

One of the first major developments of the year happened when Google rolled out an AI-powered image generator on its chatbot Bard, paving the way for subsequent dramatic advances into AI use by other tech firms. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

In recent weeks, multinational tech giants have been seen to fall over each other in accelerating the deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities as part of measures aimed at optimising the experiences of their users with an end-goal of exerting dominance in their operating space.

But in the process of racing to outdo peers and carve a competitive edge in AI usage, the platforms are throwing the care of tidiness to the wind as users raise concerns about lack of sufficient time frame to internalise and make use of new feature been tried out almost on a daily basis.

One of the first major developments of the year happened when Google rolled out an AI-powered image generator on its chatbot Bard, paving the way for subsequent dramatic advances into AI use by other tech firms.

Dubbed Gemini Pro, the tool allows users to generate images using specified prompts in all languages within the territories where Bard is available, rivalling a similar feature that has been operated by OpenAI’s ChatGPT for a while.

A key shift, however, was the enabling of free use which came as a far-cry from the ChatGPT model that requires a paid subscription.

At around the same time, the search giant also unveiled MusicFX, a text-to-music AI tool tailored to allow users create instrumental tracks from text prompts.

The tool, which is an upgrade of the music-generating capability MusicLM released by Google last year, can create ditties up to 70 seconds in length and music loops, delivering what the tech firm touts as ‘higher quality’ and ‘faster’ music generation.

Even before the dust settled, OpenAI took the market by storm through the release of a new text-to-video model named Sora that allows for the creation of highly realistic snippets of video from just a few lines of text, a development that sent shock waves across content creators’ circles on the local scene.

For a start, OpenAI said, the tool would only be available to select visual artists, designers as well as filmmakers as it seeks to gather feedback on how best to advance the model to match the specific needs of creative professionals.

It is however the novel video translation capabilities of AI introduced by tech newbie HeyGen that have wowed and fascinated internet users, prompting their proclamation about the seemingly limitless possibilities of tech-powered innovations.

HeyGen, a generative AI video startup based in the US, is harnessing the power of generative AI to streamline the video-creation process by allowing users to translate spoken video content via a video translation app that supports over 29 languages.

In a greatly enhanced fashion, the speaker’s mouth appears to have a near-perfect match to the language spoken in the translated version as it retains the original voice and accent, which presents a major departure from previous translation methods and audio dubbing processes that have been marred with voice not matching mouth movements.

Other AI milestones attained in the recent past include OpenAI’s current testing of the ability of ChatGPT to retain memory of user projects so as to make future chats more relevant and aligned, as well as the TikTok and Adobe Express joint announcement of creation of a TikTok Creative Assistant that will allow brands to brainstorm, ideate and create content while drawing insights from ads, and trending hashtags.

On its part, Adobe has also launched an AI assistant on the side on Reader and Acrobat that instantly generates summaries and insights from long documents, answers questions and formats information for sharing in emails, reports and presentations.

Experts opine that amid the mad rush and craze, the tech space provides a golden opportunity for users who will appropriately position themselves to creatively reap from the sector growth.

“For those who will be able to fast-learn and quickly gather insights on how the new deployments work, the advantage will be to them to leverage before the space gets overly crowded. Learning quickly will be the master stroke,” advises digital marketing strategist Egline Samoei.

Her sentiments are shared by digital brand strategist Barrack Onyango who opines that a user can only draw benefits through upskilling and gaining usage experience.

“You will only be able to draw benefits from these developments if you are knowledgeable and experienced in the niche, already have passion in the use-cases of the platforms and are willing to spend time learning how each new feature could suit the needs of the clientele you serve,” states Onyango.

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