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Innovation

YouTube's new AI feature helps you decide what to watch next

YouTube is testing a feature that uses artificial intelligence to create video summaries.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Person holding phone with YouTube on it
SOPA Images/Contributor/Getty Images

If a new feature from YouTube tests well, AI could help you decide what video to watch next. 

In an announcement on its official blog, the company detailed how, starting this week, it is using artificial intelligence to create video summaries that appear on both search and watch pages. The summaries, YouTube says, will make it easier for a user to find out information about a video and decide whether or not it's a good watch.

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These summaries, to be available on a "limited number" of English language videos, are only intended to provide brief overviews of a few lines each. The AI-produced summaries will not replace actual descriptions made by the video creators. For now, YouTube hasn't released any details about which videos will be getting these summaries, which users will see them, or what the summaries will look like.

The summary feature is similar to a Chrome extension that debuted in May. This summary option, though, is actually from YouTube's own AI and appears in search alongside a video, not an additional sidebar.

It arrives on the heels of several other recent changes at the video platform. Last month, YouTube announced an AI voice dubbing feature that enables users to hear videos in their native language. (YouTube's parent company, Google, has also announced several AI initiatives over recent weeks.) YouTube also just raised the price of its Premium service, a move that didn't sit well with many subscribers. And earlier this year, YouTube rolled out several new non-AI-related features like improved video quality, more control over the video queue, and smart downloads for offline viewing.

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The biggest hurdle facing the summary feature will be accuracy. As seen by OpenAI recently pulling its own program away from the public, AI can be incredibly useful but also can be incredibly wrong at times. 

Should the summary feature become permanent, it will be interesting to see how creators react. Any change in how the website displays or recommends videos has content makers scrambling to figure out the algorithm, and trying to make the AI write the optimal description will surely be at the front of many minds.

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