Project Astra: first look at Google’s universal AI assistant

Project Astra: first look at Google's universal AI assistant

Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, revealed that he had had a vision in mind for years, that of a “multimodal universal assistant that is with us all the time.” Well, this assistant was shown for the first time at the I/O 2024 conference and the name of him, for the moment, is Project Astra.

Project Astra is Google’s new AI assistant that truly serves people

Project Astra is to all intents and purposes a Universal multimodal AI assistant that can see the real world and answer questions of all kinds. During the event (here are the main news) a video shot inside the Big G offices in London was shown, a demo without “smart” cuts that left everyone speechless: the assistant appears capable of identify a component of a loudspeaker, analyze and contextualize a code, solve puzzles and even remember the position of a previously framed object. All while communicating with the user in an absolutely natural tone, almost as if he were a real person.

According to the Google manager, as the years pass, we will think about artificial intelligence not for the models that underlie it, but for what they can do for us. Which is a bit of the story of agents presented at this year’s I/O. The Project Astra demo reveals that, while the underlying model is of fundamental importance (and even of interest), the focus is on what AI can actually do for the usergoing beyond the simple exchange of words.

Hassabis knew his vision would become reality when he was introduced Gemini 1.5 Pro, which is the latest language model launched by Google. Referring to Project Astra, Hassabis reveals that “these elements were already there over six months ago“, but that there were latency and speed issues that made the AI ​​assistant unusable. For this reason, improving the model has been one of the team’s most important tasks for the last six months or so. The dual objective (then achieved) was update the model at the same time, optimize the infrastructure to ensure large-scale operation. «This is something Google does very well!», Hassabis finally declared during the interview with David Pierce of The Verge.

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