Google AI Has a New Competitive Angle: AI Is a Bit of Problem for Everyone Except Us, Of Course

April 2, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Google has not recovered from the MSFT Davos PR coup. The online advertising company with a wonderful approach to management promptly did a road show in Paris which displayed incorrect data. Next the company declared a Code Red emergency (whatever that means in an ad outfit). Then the Googley folk reorganized by laterally arabesque-ing Dr. Jeff Dean somewhere and putting smart software in the hands of the DeepMind survivors. Okay, now we are into Phase 2 of the quantumly supreme company’s push into smart software.


An unknown person in Hyde Park at Speaker’s Corner is explaining to the enthralled passers by that “AI is like cryptocurrency.” Is there a face in the crowd that looks like the powerhouse behind FTX? Good enough, MSFT Copilot.

A good example of this PR tactic appears in “Google DeepMind Co-Founder Voices Concerns Over AI Hype: ‘We’re Talking About All Sorts Of Things That Are Just Not Real’.” Some additional color similar to that of sour grapes appears in “Google’s DeepMind CEO Says the Massive Funds Flowing into AI Bring with It Loads of Hype and a Fair Share of Grifting.”

The main idea in these write ups is that the Top Dog at DeepMind and possible candidate to take over the online ad outfit is not talking about ruing the life of a Go player or folding proteins. Nope. The new message, as I understand it, AI is just not that great. Here’s an example of the new PR push:

The fervor amongst investors for AI, Hassabis told the Financial Times, reminded him of “other hyped-up areas” like crypto. “Some of that has now spilled over into AI, which I think is a bit unfortunate,” Hassabis told the outlet. “And it clouds the science and the research, which is phenomenal.”

Yes, crypto. Digital currency is associated with stellar professionals like Sam Bankman-Fried and those engaged in illegal activities. (I will be talking about some of those illegal activities at the US National Cyber Crime Conference in a few weeks.)

So what’s the PR angle? Here’s my take on the message from the CEO in waiting:

  1. The message allows Google and its numerous supporters to say, “We think AI is like crypto but maybe worse.”
  2. Google can suggest, “Our AI is not so good, but that’s because we are working overtime to avoid the crypto-curse which is inherent in outfits engaged in shoving AI down your throat.”
  3. Googlers gardons la tête froide unlike the possibly criminal outfits cheerleading for the wonders of artificial intelligence.

Will the approach work? In my opinion, yes, it will add a joke to the Sundar and Prabhakar Comedy Act. No, I don’t think it will not alter the scurrying in the world of entrepreneurs, investment firms, and “real” Silicon Valley journalists, poohbahs, and pundits.

Stephen E Arnold, April 2, 2024


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