An audience of tech fans watched with palpable joy as Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed a demo of Google Assistant booking a hair appointment over the phone. The bit that really got them when the “assistant” dropped a casually affirmative “mmm-hmm” into the call. Pichai told the crowd, “The amazing thing is that Assistant can actually understand the nuances of conversation.” It also unveiled Google Lens, a visual search tool that looks for information in the objects around you, and showed a demo of it identifying everything in your friend’s apartment, even the blurb of a Zadie Smith novel. (Zadie Smith, as a self-described “luddite abstainer”, was a brave choice.)
to our mental health, Google’s move looks like a classic at…ial harm to our mental health, Google’s move looks like a classic attempt to get ahead of the game. People no longer want a life-work balance, they want a life-tech balance. And Google is here to assist.
This is Google doing what it always does. It is trying to be the solution to every aspect of our lives. It already wants to be our librarian, our encyclopedia, our dictionary, our map, our navigator, our wallet, our postman, our calendar, our newsagent, and now it wants to be our therapist. It wants us to believe it’s on our side.