Microsoft may bring back Clip, but do it smart


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This week, Microsoft confirmed plans to invest billions in OpenAI, the company behind the viral new chatbot tool ChatGPT.

The prospect of Microsoft, a software maker that people mostly hate, getting involved in ChatGPT, a product that people generally love, is raising a lot of eyebrows.

Immediately, people started joking on social media that ChatGPT would be useful in rejuvenating the cheek of the widely mutilated, big-eyed clipper.

In case anyone has forgotten, Clippy was Microsoft’s silly little virtual assistant that popped up to help you compose an English Lite essay. Clippy was cute, like a cartoon dog, and had intelligence to match.

Maybe the really cool tech chatgpty clip can do what it never could and, like real help, pop up on your face without warning and give it to Dopey half-surprised.

My colleague Samantha Murphy Kelly spoke to AI experts about the Microsoft-ChatGPT partnership.

“There’s a grain of truth to the Clippy comparison,” David Lobina, artificial intelligence analyst at ABI Research, told Sam. “ChatGPT is a very sophisticated auto-completion tool, and in that respect it’s a much better version of Clippy.”

ICMI: Since November, ChatGPT has simultaneously impressed and shocked everyone whose work focuses on content creation or review – journalists, academics, educators, publishers, entertainers, anyone who writes emails or provides information.

This bot does it all – songs, poems, essays, news stories, news stories in the style of 1920s muckrakers, news stories in the style of Virginia Woolf consciousness, whatever your heart desires. He can write your stupid emails for you. It can create a conversation. Your wedding vows. Cover letter for job application.

That AI power is, understandably, an interesting proposition for Microsoft, which powers some of the world’s most despised and yet ubiquitous software like Outlook, Word and Excel.

By Sam:

Some possible cases include writing lines of text for a PowerPoint presentation, formatting an essay in Word, or automatic data entry in Excel spreadsheets. For Microsoft’s search engine Bing, ChatGPT can provide more personalized search results and better summarize websites.

All of the above comments stem from the question, “How can Microsoft integrate ChatGPIT into its products?” ChatGPT is asking that question in different ways.

Argh, Samantha, you cheater!

However, Microsoft hasn’t publicly hinted at its plans beyond saying it will integrate ChatGPT features with its cloud computing service.

Despite the lack of specifics, it’s surprising that Microsoft, Silicon Valley’s equivalent of Boomer, suddenly seems to be at the forefront of the Big Tech AI race. Google was reportedly caught up in the Microsoft-OpenAI partnership, and inspired it. Some disappointment For meta AI.

Of course, AI tech is still young, unreliable and fraught with ethical dilemmas.

“Systems like ChatGPT can be unreliable, making things up as they go and giving different answers to the same questions — not to mention sexist and racist biases,” says Lobina.

It raises the prospect of an anthropomorphic paperclip assistant that might actually help you but be as problematic and flawed as the internet it’s brain is built on.

Amazon is intruding into our personal lives, for better or for worse.

The company — already a semi-annual compulsion to rewatch every part of Fleabag in one sitting — is getting even more personal with its latest offering.

Check it out: Amazon just offered a $5-a-month subscription to 60 common prescription drugs, including high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and hair loss.

The new delivery service, RxPass, launched this week in most of the US (a few states, including California and Texas, are excluded because they have special requirements for prescriptions).

For those with multiple medications, this could be a game changer. The idea is that for just five bucks a month, you can get all the drugs you need (generic versions, anyway). This is five birr in total, not five birr in addition to the cost of the medicine. It’s a flat rate no matter how many prescriptions you have.

The catch? RxPass is an add-on to Amazon Prime memberships that cost $139 a year. So, if you’re not already on the Prime train, that might seem steep. Also, people on government health plans like Medicare and Medicaid are not eligible.

Amazon has been entering healthcare for years with few obstacles (we’re looking at you, Amazon Care). It launched an online pharmacy in 2020, and is in the process of acquiring a medical, boutique primary care provider.

The bottom line: As far as Amazon is concerned, this program is actually a loss maker, analysts say. But it’s smart for a company whose values ​​consumers are addicted to. If RxPass works and we all start getting our dog food and anti-anxiety meds in one box every month, that will be literally and figuratively true.

My colleague Nathaniel Meyerson has more.

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