Google Assistant: The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

Google Assistant: The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

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Google Assistant: The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

As Google helps us to build “the containers of our collective intelligence,” one of the challenges is transforming the knowledge they contain into services that can be automated for us. This is the significance of Google’s Assistant.

Other important information will come as people ask the Assistant to perform actions for them. “In the search logs, we don’t see people asking to do things like, Book me a table at CasCal for 7 pm for two. Nobody’s going to say that to Google because Google is a search engine, right?” Pereira says. Actually, booking a table is one thing that Google Search can do, but that’s a rare exception: generally, Google search can give you answers, but can’t close the deal. So people don’t ask it to do things, and Google doesn’t get data on assistance. “That difference between knowing and doing is a big one,” says Pereira, “and only now are we only starting to get enough traffic and interaction to start understanding how we can make [an assistant] grow and become more robust, more general, more flexible. It’s going to be a long road to go from the information side where search comes from, to the doing side — to pervasive assistance.”

More on our “containers of our collective intelligence”:

HT Eldon Edwards


  1. Arent you sick and tired of the same talk all the time about how the assistant will break down all the walls and set new standards? You hear it everytime… And yet what has changed since nexus 4? Ok google screen off command… What else? Taking notes checking for weather and who is the president… “amazing”, but nothing new… If that defines an assistant well someone needs to get their brain checked…

    I would like to see something that can find a page, analyzes it finds the keywords and reads back the paragraph… But no…

  2. I disagree with this statement, Gideon Rosenblatt: “Today’s explosive growth in machine learning marks a turning point as we now prioritize the teaching of machines over the teaching of humans.” While we have clearly increased the priority of teaching machines, I don’t think we’re even close to such a turning point, neither in hours nor money nor other resources spent on each. Did you mean this as a warning or (as quoted) a statement of fact? If the latter, what do you base it on?

  3. Chris Welty Good points. maybe it all depends on who are we in the quoted sentence by Gideon Rosenblatt.

    The real issue I see here is the fracture between those we and the rest of humanity who will never ever use such technology (including at least myself and I suspect also yourself, Chris Welty).

  4. Gideon Rosenblatt The passage from knowing to doing is at the moment the red line I am not at all eager to cross. Even if the machine knows best I am not ready to delegate my decisions to it (him? her?). Even small ones. As said above in the answer to the comment of Chris Welty, I don’t think I am such an exception. I see this red line as a potential big social fracture between the machine-assisted humanity (so to speak) and the rest of us, whatever the reason why they are in the rest, either because they can’t afford it, or because they don’t want to.

  5. Chris Welty​​ yes, that’s a fair point. I’m not suggesting in terms of society as a whole right now because that clearly would not be true. What I am referring to is the cutting edge of technological development and application, as in corporations like Amazon and others. That is where we are going to see, more and more, that investment will favor machine learning over human learning. The returns to capital will demand it.

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