Google I/O just showed me how to live the laziest life through AI

Google IO 2024
This man is a laziness hero (Image credit: Google)

The dirty secret about Google Gemini (and probably all AI) is that it's built for lazy people like me. At the Google I/O keynote on Tuesday, Google spent hours showing us the myriad ways Gemini and its associated technologies could pick up the slack for us – or, more specifically, me, the laziest person you'll ever meet.

I know what you're thinking, "No, no, Lance, you seem like a real hardworking guy." It's a lie. I've spent my decades-long career finding shortcuts - and AI is my white whale. Instead of riding a giant vessel into an uncertain fate, Google has handed me the on a platter the size of a typical smartphone.

In Google's developing vision, there are so many things I no longer have to do for myself. This is laziness nirvana.

I can't remember

It starts simply. If I don't want to remember my license plate number (because why would I?), Google's new AskPhotos function can look through your massive photo library and use AI to identify your license plate for you. Walking around to the back of my car and checking the plate (or maybe just looking out the front window at the car parked in my driveway) is for people far more energetic than me.

Mailing it in

Around 2011, I realized I had too much email to ever read, let alone understand. So much goes unread because I'm too lazy to go through it. My buddy Google Gemini slides up next to me, gives me a nudge and a grin, and promises to read it, summarize it, and create responses. This is the email of my lazy dreams.

Vacation from trip planning

As I write this, I'm about to head off on vacation. I hate planning vacations. I find it tedious and confusing, and I'm too lazy to get it done (my wife is the exact opposite). Gemini will let you tell it where you want to go, along with a few other details I may or may not have, and then it cooks up a shockingly complete travel itinerary (in a related vein, Gemini seems ready to manage an equally challenging move to, say, a new state).

Problem solved – but not by you

I used to try to help my kids with their math problems and mostly failed, mainly because I was taught "old math" and they were taught "new math." Google's new Circle to Search for text problems, including math and formulas, would've soothed my lazy psyche into a blissful state of incompetence. Perhaps if my kids saw me doing this, simply just circling the thing I do not understand, they would've assumed I was being super helpful instead of what I am: super lazy.

The picture of...whatever

I'm an "artist." I put it in quotes because my drawing skills are just above average. Worse, when faced with a drawing task, I often fight the impulse to not start at all. That's not just laziness, it's avoidance of possible disappointment because I couldn't create the thing. Google's latest image model, Imagine 3, is so good I realize there's no point in trying to create anything. I could never draw a wolf, wooden owl, yarn elephant, or people enjoying the golden hour sun that well. Enabling "lazy mode" and putting the pen down.

Not making movies

Hi, my name is Lance, and I'm a TikToker. For some reason I can't explain, TechRadar lets me shoot and post TikTok videos on its channel. Imagine Grandpa explaining tech, and you get the idea. It's a lot of work and sometimes, I'd rather visit our kitchen's snack bins. Google's Veo video model looks every bit as powerful as OpenAI's Sora. I bet that with a little training, it could create the TikToks for me and possibly include an AI-generated someone who looks vaguely like me (a thumb with glasses would do). Ooooh, Cheetos.

Research dumpster

Now, this one's a bit dangerous. Google showed how you could pour all your research into Gemini, and it'll spit out at least an outline. You know reporting, which is hard work, by the way, is all research, right? Keep this lazy tool away from me.

Job punt

Recently, we hired a new guy. It was a lot of work. Yes, worth the effort, but the work part I can do without. I had no idea Google would let me create a Virtual Teammate, one I can even name. He, she, or they can hang out in our chat rooms and engage like a real coworker. Gosh, this is so easy.

Googling laziness

One of the big, overarching messages of Google I/O was to let Google do the Googling for you. In other words, if you need to perform a search, even a big, multi-part one, don't put much effort into it.

Don't tell Google, but I already do this. I'm usually too lazy to carefully parse out my prompt, so I type whatever is in my head into the search field and leave it to the search engine to figure it out.

It appears Google's been reading my lazy brain and just turned up the proactive search capabilities to 11. I mean, they are really owning the phrase, "Google will do the Googling for you." Music to my lazy heart.

Doesn't compute

I've done my share of tinkering and troubleshooting, and it doesn't always go well. What if I didn't? Google Project Astra is so peppy and proactive. All I have to do is film something, ask Google, "What the hell; is wrong with this?" and go take a nap while it spits out the answer.

An extension of this is Google Gemini's growing ability to explain everything I look at. Why should I expend the mental energy to interpret the images my eyes deliver to my brain? My Pixel 8 Pro has a "brain." I'll let it and Gemini doi it.

There are, it seems, no limits to what Google and its powerful AIs will do for you. If I want to find a couch and park myself there for a day or more, Google's upcoming AI Agents will be there to reason, plan, memorize, and think steps ahead. These little bits of AI are for you – or rather me.

I'd share more, but, well, laziness.

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Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.