Today is April Fool’s Day, and despite Microsoft’s efforts to ban such pranks, many tech companies could not resist joining in the centuries-old spoofing tradition. However, given the already incredible achievements of cutting-edge AI technologies, some of today’s hoaxes actually look pretty convincing.
Ready to be fooled? Synced has picked some of the best April Fool’s Day jokes from the world of AI.
Self-driving pet service
Alphabet’s self-driving subsidiary announced Waymo Pet, a self-driving service tailored to pets. In a promotional video released this morning, straight-faced Waymo engineers describe how the pet-oriented ride experience incorporates for example a laser display because research shows cats and kittens love laser pointers, and a hamster-leveraging, wheel-powered cooling system.
Waymo opened applications for pet owners and many bought into it, leaving comments such as “Where can I sign up?” and “I was about to starting believing this was real…”
Google AI talks to flowers
Google always ups its game on April Fool’s, and its latest prank brings creativity to the next level. Cutting edge AI-powered Google Assistant, the company announced, can now communicate with tulips, an innovation the company says will bring great environmental and societal benefits.
Tulips are a symbol of Netherlands, and Google exploited this by associating the project with Dutch public university Wageningen University & Research. Mastering “Tulipish,” the language of tulips, allows Google Assistant to translate tulip signals to human language using neural machine translation techniques. Google even added the faux tongue to its recently introduced Interpreter Mode.
NVIDIA’s holographic smart speaker
Although US chip giant NVIDIA has not yet made any promises on smart speakers, the prototype they announced today surely seems too good to be true. Meet NVIDIA R.O.N., an AI-powered holographic assistant for PC gaming.
The list of R.O.N.’s incredible capabilities includes projecting 3D augmented reality displays of maps, levels, and data for gameplay; and translating any and all questionable languages into supportive messages for players. Want to whack haters on social media? R.O.N. features “TrollDestroyer,” which leverages AI to help you win debates on Reddit or Twitch. Prefer to game in peace? “TalkBlock” enables 208 third-party applications to redirect parents, partners or roommates so they can’t interrupt your gaming experience.
Ant Financial’s FBi-phone
Alibaba’s financial subsidiary Ant Financial announced its newest smartphone can battle fraudsters by leveraging AI, blockchain, and other cutting-edge techniques. FBi-Phone (Fraud-Busting intelligence), is packed with anti-fraud, anti-counterfeiting, and anti-evil features.
FBi-Phone can predict attempted fraud calls using cognitive computing and pattern recognition capabilities. FBi-Phone can also stall unwelcome callers with engaging conversation while simultaneously alerting authorities.
The product and features are not completely nonsensical. Synced previously reported on Alibaba’s Erha, an application that uses an AI-backed voice bot to field sales calls. In a demo call recording a random human telemarketer delivers a complete sales pitch to Erha, unaware they are dealing with a bot.
Alibaba says the FBi-phone will be available for sale in all reputable telephone shops in the future.
Baidu’s AI love bot
Chinese search engine Baidu has repeatedly trumpeted its “all-in on AI” efforts, and the company’s April Fool’s joke is an ambitious AI love bot called “Cupid.” Billed as an “interactive smart social assistant” delivering unprecedented levels of service to improve romantic relationships, Cupid can quickly detect and interpret body language and facial expressions to break down walls of misunderstanding between the sexes.
In a promotional video Cupid evaluates an uncomfortable woman’s behavior and suggests to her concerned partner she’s having menstrual cramps and would like him to keep her company through the discomfort.
The various April Fool’s AI jokes are not limited to fun and games: they also reflect various corporate visions and expectations regrading a tech-driven world that benefits both humans and nature. In all likelihood, some of these fanciful spoofs will actually become products one day.
Journalist: Tony Peng | Editor: Michael Sarazen