Technology

Adobe adds AI assistant to Acrobat, Reader in effort to maintain relevance in PDF market


Adobe has just rolled out a new AI assistant for its Acrobat and Reader products today, bringing conversational AI abilities to help users parse and summarize the trillions of PDF files used by businesses and consumers worldwide.

The move shows Adobe aiming to stay atop the PDF market it pioneered decades ago, as new AI systems from startups like OpenAI and Anthropic threaten to provide many of the same abilities.

The AI Assistant, which is currently in beta testing, lets users ask questions about a PDF’s contents and receive summarized answers. It can also generate formatted text, like presentations and emails, based on information extracted from PDFs.

Adobe’s new AI Assistant in Acrobat and Reader enables natural language interactions with PDF documents, answering questions about content and generating summaries. (Credit: Adobe)

The feature builds upon Adobe Acrobat’s Liquid Mode, which already offers a responsive reading experience on mobile devices. This expansion into AI leverages Adobe’s proprietary machine learning models, which understand PDF structure and content, to generate document summaries, answer questions, and even format information for use in emails, reports, and presentations.

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For Adobe’s large user base, the implications are significant. The AI Assistant promises to transform trillions of PDF documents into interactive, responsive sources of knowledge. Its capabilities include recommending questions, creating generative summaries, and providing intelligent citations — a crucial feature in an era increasingly concerned with the origins and accuracy of AI-generated content.

Adobe emphasizes that the AI Assistant will not compromise customer data, adhering to strict data security protocols and requiring consent for any use of document content in AI training. This commitment to privacy may provide an edge over competitors in the corporate sphere, where data sensitivity remains a paramount concern.

The future of productivity

The integration of AI into document management could eventually redefine productivity, particularly for knowledge workers who routinely navigate lengthy contracts, reports, and research.

With the AI Assistant, Adobe envisions a future where insights are readily accessible across various document types and sources, authoring and editing are simplified through AI-powered suggestions, and collaborative reviews are enhanced by AI’s ability to analyze and synthesize feedback.

Adobe’s new AI assistant for Acrobat and Reader can quickly generate summarized overviews of long documents, condensing the key information into easy-to-digest formats. (Credit: Adobe)

Adobe’s strategy extends beyond maintaining its stronghold on the PDF format. It is an adaptive move that harnesses the capabilities of generative AI to meet evolving user needs and counter the rise of LLM-based applications, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT. By integrating AI into its existing platforms, Adobe is not only enhancing its products but also embedding itself more deeply into the workflows of individuals and enterprises.

As the company prepares to offer the full range of AI Assistant capabilities through an add-on subscription once the beta period concludes, it is poised to deliver a powerful tool that could set a new industry benchmark. This move could catalyze a shift in how documents are consumed and created, bolstering Adobe’s position as a central hub for document intelligence in the digital age.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, this new offering from Adobe may be seen as a bid to keep the company at the forefront of the digital documentation industry, leveraging AI to add a new layer of utility and innovation to the humble PDF.

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