Digital payments company PayPal is using an artificial intelligence-powered tool from Google, according to the tech giant’s CEO Sundar Pichai.
Pichai, who is CEO of both Alphabet and Google, mentioned PayPal using the tool during a third-quarter earnings call for Google parent company Alphabet Oct. 24. He did not provide details on how PayPal has used the tool, saying only that it helped “boost developer productivity.”
Mountain View, California-based Google first announced the AI-powered tool, called Duet AI, in May. The tool was initially available only for a limited set of users, before becoming available in preview mode in August.
According to the Duet AI homepage, the tool is built to provide assistance to software engineers who use Google’s cloud computing platform. It can answer questions about the platform in a way that mimics human conversation. And it can also directly hook into programming tools to generate computer code.
Spokespeople for Google and Paypal didn’t respond to questions about when PayPal started using the tool, or what it has been used for at San Jose, California-based PayPal.
Nonetheless, former PayPal CEO Dan Schulman has extolled the benefits of AI for cutting costs and improving services. At an August investor conference, he talked about working with Google, Amazon and Microsoft on new AI tools.
“What we are seeing using those tool sets — and this is just kind of the beginning of it — is we’re seeing 20 to 40 percent productivity improvements in our developer tool sets, and our developer lifecycle,” Schulman said. “That is massive. I think that AI is going to redefine software development.”
Schulman has also discussed how PayPal is using AI on its unique datasets to improve the checkout experience. “We will use it to redefine checkout,” he said at the Goldman Sachs conference in September. “We will put a PayPal assistant right into our app where somebody can ask any question and immediately be answered. We’re experimenting with that already.”
His successor, Alex Chriss, who became PayPal’s CEO in late September, has been a believer in AI too. In his prior role leading Intuit’s small business and self-employed group strategy, Chriss described in a 2019 web post how AI tools from Intuit were making those “underdog” enterprises more powerful.