Apple controls ChatGPT-based applications
The AI hack has made its way to the App Store. BlueMail, an app that uses artificial intelligence to write emails and manage people’s calendars, has announced an update to its service that will use OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT engine. Citing ChatGPT’s ability to spew almost any imaginable text, Apple blocked updates to BlueMail out of concern that it could generate offensive or inappropriate text for minors.
Apple hasn’t completely banned BlueMail from the App Store. It just prevented the app creator from releasing the update without content restriction filters. Still, BlueMail’s developer protested the move, saying Apple would stifle its innovation efforts.
Apple’s move comes at a time when industries and institutions are facing the rapid changes that generative AI is bringing to content creation tools. Some schools ban ChatGPT, others are curious about it. Some journalism outfits aren’t replacing employees with artificial intelligence, and others are putting carefully considered, thoughtful boundaries on how they interact with the technology. Businesses from science fiction magazines to law firms are bracing themselves for the chaos that could befall AI. The debate over the use of artificial intelligence is likely to become even more contentious as major tech companies and publishers consider where to limit the technology and who can use it.
Read on for consumer tech news.
Windows 11 Bingy update
Speaking of generative artificial intelligence, Microsoft has added new AI-powered Bing search features in the latest update to Windows 11 operating system.
Bing announced last month that it would integrate ChatGPT into its in-house search service, kicking off a not-so-cool search war with Google. Microsoft is now putting BingAI right on the taskbar of Windows desktops. It’s a pretty obvious place to stick, especially since Microsoft says the search bar is used by more than half a billion people every month.
Other updates in Windows 11 include improved accessibility and power services, and better phone connectivity capabilities on both Android devices and iPhones. Also, Windows 8’s infamous tiles are back, sort of, in the form of improved widgets in the start menu. Fortunately, these are optional.
You can download the Windows 11 update manually now or wait for it to install automatically in the coming months.
The Pixel watch has fall detection
Google is fashionably late to the smartwatch game. The Pixel Watch, released in October 2022, was several years behind the Apple, Samsung and Garmin watches that dominate the market. Google hasn’t shied away from adding new features to its sleek wristband. The latest is fall detection, also known as the “I fell and can’t get up” feature. If the device detects that the user has tripped, a beep will sound and a screen will appear to indicate if it is a false alarm. If you don’t tap anything for a minute, the Pixel Watch can automatically call 911 and arrange a rescue on your behalf.
This type of technology is practical to wear, but is prone to false positives. After Apple updated its Apple Watch last year to detect accidents and falls, there were reports of emergency calls being mistakenly called to “help” users who fell while skiing or otherwise safely riding roller coasters. The Pixel watch doesn’t detect bumps, only falls, and Google says it should be able to tell the difference between a fall during exercise and an actual debilitating fall. The company claims that the Pixel Watch’s sensors can study the body’s “responses and instinctive reactions” to determine if you’ve actually hurt yourself or fallen and are able to recover.
Just for you
Almost everywhere you go online, algorithms are suggesting what to do next. The next video to watch, a playlist to listen to, a person to swipe on – all of this is suggested by one or another company’s data-driven recommendation engine. This can be great for discovering a new artist or creator to follow. It can be less great if it leads someone down a dark internet rabbit hole or takes the giant company before Congress or the Supreme Court.
Jonathan Stray, a senior scientist at the Berkeley Center for Human-Compatible AI who studies online recommender systems, joins WIRED. Gadget Lab podcast this week to talk about how people are given suggestions and how that can affect their beliefs.