We haven’t gone a day in 2023 without some product or service having AI crowbarred into it. Statistics demand that eventually there will be a list of the worst AI implementations but we’re willing to bet that Fitbit’s upcoming generative system won’t be on that list. Not unless it pulls a version one Bard, anyway.
That’s… probably not going to happen. Google has most of those issues sorted out and this AI system, announced at the search giant’s Made by Google event yesterday, isn’t looking to answer complicated questions that might strike you right about the same time that endorphin high kicks in. Instead, it’ll live inside the Fitbit app and do some of the work you should have been doing but aren’t.
Fitbit of a good thing
The AI system demonstrated onstage at Google’s event was a glorified number cruncher, working a little like ChatGPT or Google’s own Bard but with a limited dataset. James Park, Fitbit CEO, explained that the upcoming generative AI system could take the information that your wearable is already collecting and use that to deliver deeper insights.
The main example shown was of a run that seemed to take more effort than usual. On querying, the runner’s pace was around 30 seconds slower than usual. This was offset by there being more elevation than normal, which translates to more time spent at peak heart rate. The AI-supported interpretation takes the session from ‘Damn, I sucked more than usual’ to ‘Damn, I worked out harder than usual.”
Just how useful these customised insights and suggestions will be remains to be seen but there’s serious potential for increased performance gains thanks to what is essentially a software update. Google and Fitbit might take advantage of the feature to score some extra cash from you, however.
Fitbit users will get access to generative AI via an app update in the coming months, but there’s no indication of how long it’ll actually take to get here. It might also find itself locked behind a Fitbit Premium subscription but that’s not official. It makes sense — AI support is tailor-made for convincing otherwise reluctant users that a recurring payment into Google’s coffers is worth it. Users with Pixel devices will get the update first so South Africa will have to look on from afar for a while until Google gets its act together.