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How tech companies like Meta and Google are increasingly adding AI to everyday products

As more apps and platforms add AI tools, the workarounds to turn them off or opt-out vary.
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Posted at 7:01 PM, Jun 07, 2024

While tech companies are battling it out in an AI arms race, consumers may be facing an "AI fatigue" — or they're simply annoyed with AI features they didn't ask for.

"Maybe don't bother with labeling AI unless you're trying to get some of the 'AI jazz hands effect,' right?," said Antony Cousins, Executive Director for AI Strategy at Cision. "Some of the 'oh, we've got AI and our competitors don't,' which is something a lot of companies are out there doing."

Cousins has worked in AI for the past decade. He's an AI strategist who says that AI should be treated as one of many tools on a tech platform — not something that should take away from the overall experience.

Facebook and Instagram's "Meta AI button replaced the mobile search function with an AI-powered recommendations feature and even an AI image generator, the results of which many say can be hit or miss.

There's no way to turn it off, but it can be muted through the app's settings page — as well as simply ignored if you see it pop up.

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Google is now baking "AI Overviews" into some search results pages, providing AI-generated summaries and "key links" at the top of the page.

The company notes the technology is experimental and limited, and so users can search without it, but it takes more clicks to do so. Some browser add-ons can also be installed to "mute" the AI results.

As more apps and platforms add AI tools, the workarounds to turn them off or opt-out vary. But Cousins says that some tools and tasks — such as data-driven recommendations — have already been available as simpler models for years.

"We're used to Netflix and AI recommendations. Love them or hate them. but they've been around for quite some time," said Cousins.

And it's clear it's here to stay, as generative AI takes center stage on our search pages and social media feeds.