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Friday | 23 February, 2024

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Today’s Cache | Indian Consumers prefer AI tools over human interaction; Google halts Gemini’s image generation ability; Mastercard faces tech lawsuit

Indian Consumers prefer AI tools over human interaction. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

Indian Consumers prefer AI tools over human interaction

According to Adobe’s State of Digital Customer Experience report, 57% of Indian consumers prefer AI-powered tools for an enhanced customer experience, surpassing the global and APAC averages of 39% and 48% respectively. Notably, Indians still favour human assistance for intricate tasks like returns, with 39% desiring a dual option, particularly when exploring novel products. However, the report highlights a disparity as only 15% of Indian brands utilise AI to enhance customer experiences, trailing the global average of 18%. Unlike European and US counterparts, Indian brands lack dedicated budgets for generative AI implementation. Nevertheless, the tide may turn soon, with 53% of Indian brands expressing a desire to enhance their generative AI capabilities, and 76% either integrating or planning to do so within the next year, indicating a potential shift in the landscape.

Google halts Gemini’s image generation ability

On Thursday, Google announced a temporary suspension of its Gemini AI chatbot’s image generation of people, responding to concerns about historical inaccuracies. Users shared on social media diverse depictions in historically white-dominated scenes, prompting questions about potential over-correction for racial bias. Google acknowledged the issues on the X platform, stating, “We’re addressing recent problems with Gemini’s image generation feature.” During this rectification, the generation of people’s images will be halted, with an improved version anticipated for release soon. Previous studies highlight the tendency of AI image generators to reinforce racial and gender stereotypes without filters, often producing lighter-skinned men. Google, acknowledging inaccuracies in historical depictions, is actively working to enhance Gemini’s capabilities and rectify these issues promptly.

Mastercard faces tech lawsuit

Mastercard Inc faces a fresh lawsuit from Massachusetts-based technology startup OV Loop Inc, claiming the payments giant obstructed efforts to create a “universal” digital wallet. Filed in a Boston federal court, OV Loop seeks over $75 million in damages under U.S. antitrust law, alleging Mastercard denied crucial access to digital payments technology. The lawsuit contends that Mastercard selectively granted access to tokens necessary for competing in digital wallet payments akin to Apple Pay and Google Pay. OV Loop’s founder, Will Graylin, termed the venture as “super ambitious” and asserted that Mastercard lacked a business justification for denying “equal access.” The legal action reflects the intensifying challenges in the competitive landscape of digital payment technologies.

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