Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

What was once a throwaway April Fools’ joke is now a proper tech demo. NVIDIA has published a brief demonstration of Project G-Assist, an AI chatbot that can guide gamers through challenges and automatically adjust graphics settings or GPU clock speed.

The idea here is pretty straightforward. G-Assist is a context-aware AI that can “see” what’s happening on your screen. When you need help with a game, you can pull up the Project G-Assist overlay and ask a question that you would normally punch into Google Search or YouTube. The AI will respond using natural language, and you can continue the conversation if you need additional information or clarification.

However, G-Assist is more than just a futuristic game guide. It can also tell you how well a game is performing on your system, automatically optimize graphics performance for your PC and monitor, or overclock your GPU on the fly. These are minor conveniences, but they’re conveniences nonetheless.

According to NVIDIA, the G-Assist chatbot pulls information from a “game knowledge database” and could technically support any game. It also supports both local and cloud processing. But the company’s tech demo is limited to ARK: Survival Ascended, and NVIDIA hasn’t clarified whether the AI’s contextual awareness requires compliance from game developers (other NVIDIA AI technologies, such as DLSS, must be implemented by a game’s developer).

NVIDIA isn’t the only company that’s toying with the idea of a context-aware in-game assistant. Microsoft gave a tech demo of Copilot in Minecraft at its Surface event earlier this year—it was a very rudimentary demo, and it was far less impressive than what NVIDIA is showing today. However, NVIDIA’s video is pre-recorded and probably overstates G-Assist’s current capabilities, so it’s impossible to make a fair comparison. (In any case, neither of these things are real products.)

It’s neat to see how NVIDIA is retooling a seven-year-old April Fools’ prank. However, I should note that the old G-Assist concept wasn’t a chatbot. Instead, it was an AI bot that could “play the game for you” when you were too busy eating pizza. This original concept has been abandoned for obvious reasons.

Also, I find it interesting that NVIDIA’s tech demo uses a male text-to-speech voice. Nearly every AI model announced in 2024 uses a female voice (or is demoed with one). Someone who’s knee-deep in the fields of sociology or psychology could probably write a solid essay on this topic, but it’s way out of my wheelhouse, so I’ll leave it be.

Project G-Assist is just a tech demo. It may never become a real product, but in any case, it’s a fun proof of concept. NVIDIA already offers several AI apps for RTX owners, and a chatbot that saves you from jumping into Google Search seems like a nice addition to the catalog.

Source: NVIDIA via The Verge

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By John P.

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