During Google I/O, the keynote was all about AI and its impact on search and our lives. Google introduced Duet AI, a set of tools for Gmail, Docs, and more, which includes a feature called Sidekick. Sidekick proactively offers prompts that change based on the document you’re working on. In essence, it’s telling you how to prompt it by informing you of its capabilities.

Search Generative Experience

Google also demoed Search Generative Experience (SGE), its new AI search results that generate a mini report of any question you type into the search bar. At the bottom of the report are follow-up questions. However, the queries and prompts Google used on stage look nothing like the questions we type into our search bars.

As someone whose job is to ask questions, this is unsettling. My search queries are often short, open-ended, and broad, while others are hyper-specific, long, and include reference links or data sets. But even then, it takes several rephrased prompts and queries to get the desired result.

Duet AI is meant to pull contextual data from your emails and documents to intuit what you need. SGE is designed to answer your questions and anticipate what you might ask next. For these more intuitive AI systems to work, programmers must know what questions users want answered before they’ve even asked them.

The challenge is that AI requires us to rewire our brains to communicate more fluently with it. As of now, we don’t know what we want from AI. While Google, OpenAI, and Microsoft have their own ideas, the average person simply wants to know how AI will change and impact their lives. We won’t get a satisfactory answer until we learn to ask better questions.


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