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This new AI feature is the best thing coming to Google I/O 2024

This new AI feature is the best thing coming to Google I/O 2024


What you need to know Google previewed a new Android feature at Google I/O 2024 that uses AI to detect scam-related phrases during phone calls. Digital theft cost the United States more than $12 billion last year, with phishing scams involving fake phone calls being the most commonly reported scam. The AI ​​call detection feature uses on-device AI, so its use has no significant privacy impact.

Google I/O 2024 was the most developer-focused developer conference in a while, and it was packed with AI topics. In fact, the phrase was mentioned in one form or another more than 120 times. For consumers, most of the AI ​​features listed here have no measurable impact on how they use the technology. This is a notable exception to his one feature, AI scam call detection, which could be the most important Android feature added to the platform in years.

Google is testing fraud detection alerts. The company shared a preview of the feature in action at Google I/O, but there's no release date or many details at this time. Google promises to release more details “later this year,” and that's the best timeline we have. Still, the idea behind this feature is great, and it looks impressive in the demo.

We're using Gemini Nano to test a new feature that provides real-time alerts during calls when we detect conversational patterns commonly associated with fraud. All of this protection happens on your device, so your conversations stay private.More coming later this year! #GoogleIO 14, 2024

The proposition is simple. AI helps unsuspecting users avoid falling victim to mobile phone fraud. Uses on-device AI to detect words and phrases commonly associated with phishing scams and alert users that the call they're receiving may be a scam. For example, in a demo video, Google showed off a fraud detection alert that appears after a so-called “bank representative” asks users to transfer funds to a new account.

Essentially, AI models are trained to understand what types of requests tend to be fraudulent. The most common type of phishing scam today is where scammers ask people to pay through gift cards. As such, AI fraud call detection may notify users of possible fraud when a caller requests to send a gift card redemption code.

Surprisingly, feedback about AI fraud detection from users on social media was not very positive. However, this feature may have the most beneficial effect of any feature announced at Google I/O, and here's why.

People are losing billions of dollars to scammers

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

First, let's answer the obvious question. Does he really need an AI to tell him not to transfer his life savings based on one unsolicited phone call? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. If you're reading Android Central, you probably know more about technology literacy and internet safety than the average person. Technology enthusiasts can spot scams instantly, and most of us wouldn't even be wise to pick up the phone if we didn't know the number and weren't expecting a call.

Not everyone is tech-savvy enough to spot fraud quickly and effectively. Elderly people are more often victims of this type of fraud than anyone else. We've all probably thought of someone in our lives who could fall for a scam call, especially as scammers evolve and find new ways to scam people.

If you're not yet convinced that spam calls will be a big problem in 2024, here are some numbers to back it up. In a blog post announcing the feature, Google referenced research from the Global Anti-Scam Alliance. It found that in 2023 alone, people around the world lost an estimated $1.26 trillion to fraud and identity theft. The report included 49,459 people from 43 countries, showing how widespread the fraud is.

These are estimates, but we have more concrete data in the United States. Each year, the FBI releases the Internet Crime Report, which records reports of online theft and fraud and the amount of money stolen. In 2023, digital fraud cost her $12.5 billion in losses in the United States. This is up from his $10.3 billion in 2022 and his $6.9 billion in 2021. Both the number of online scams and the amount of losses are increasing rapidly. For reference, losses in 2019 were only $3.5 billion. That means his losses have tripled in his five years.

The Internet Crime Report includes various types of online fraud and identity theft. However, the most common complaints reported to the FBI were related to phishing scams. There were 298,878 reports of phishing scams in the United States in 2023, which is more than all other reports in the four categories combined.

For those unfamiliar, phishing scams intentionally attempt to trick users into providing information or money. For example, if someone calls you pretending to be from your bank or her IRS, they're trying to phish your credentials or cash. These are exactly the types of scams that Google's fraud detection capabilities can use AI to stop.

Google won't listen to your calls – it's all handled on your device

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Google's feature works by analyzing calls in real time and matching them to words and phrases commonly used in scams. Sounds like a privacy nightmare, right? Actually, this isn't because Google uses all on-device processing. Businesses have long used on-device processing to prevent certain types of sensitive information from leaving the device. Google has the Titan M2 security chip and Apple has the Secure Enclave.

In this case, Google uses the Gemini Nano model to detect potential fraud during calls. This means Google won't be able to listen to your calls or collect data from them. Using Google's smallest AI model, it all happens on your phone, without any information being sent to the company.

This also has drawbacks, such as compatibility with phones. Because it uses Gemini Nano, the scam call detection feature may only be compatible with certain phones, such as the Pixel 8 Pro and Galaxy S24 series, if they were released today. Gemini Nano is said to be coming to the Pixel 8 later, and may appear in even more smartphones in the future. However, to protect your privacy, only devices that can run Gemini Nano can take advantage of this feature.

Fraud detection alerts save many people from theft

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

I've long said that AI is much more beneficial to uninformed casual users than it is to avid technology users, especially in the early stages. A great example of this concept is Google's plans for AI fraud detection alerts. They may not work for you or me, but they can help many people avoid scams before they get into a bad situation.

These characteristics can be the difference between making a life-altering mistake and easily avoiding a crisis. That's why, of all the AI ​​nonsense Google has done with I/O, these fraud detection alerts are the ones I'm most looking forward to seeing on my Android phone.




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