Adobe launches AI assistant that can search and summarize PDFs

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David Wadhwani, senior vice president of digital media for Adobe, speaks during the launch of Adobe Creative Cloud and CS6 in San Francisco on April 23, 2012.
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Adobe on Tuesday launched an artificial intelligence assistant in its Reader and Acrobat applications that can produce summaries of and answer questions about PDFs and other documents.

The AI assistant, currently in beta, is now available on Acrobat, “with features coming to Reader over the coming days and weeks,” according to a news release. Adobe plans to release a subscription plan for the tool after it is out of beta.

The AI assistant will help users digest information from long PDF documents by generating brief overviews of their contents, the company said. The assistant can also answer questions about the information in a document through a “conversational interface,” and suggest questions about the file that users might ask.

Adobe said the AI assistant can also generate citations that allow users to verify the source of the tool’s answers, and can produce text for various formats such as emails, presentations and reports, according to the news release.

Other AI models such as ChatGPT offer PDF readers that similarly expedite analyses of lengthy documents, but those services require users to upload a PDF. Adobe’s AI assistant is a built-in feature.

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said the new tool represents the company’s goal to “democratize access” to the trillions of PDFs in use.

“Just imagine you’ve opened a 100-page document. You want to understand the summary, you want to have a conversation with it, you want to ask questions,” Narayen said. “You want to correlate that with other documents that you might have as well as the entire information that you have in your enterprise.”

Last week, OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, launched a new tool that generates realistic, high-definition video off a text prompt. Responding to a question about whether OpenAI’s model, called Sora, represents an encroachment on Adobe’s turf, Narayen said the company is “working on our video models as well” and intends to apply that technology “in a responsible way” to “tools and workflows.”

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