The open-source release of Stable Diffusion, one of his most impressive image generation tools, marked the beginning of the end of the closed-access model that had previously dominated the AI world. That came at a time when the Dall-E 2 image generator was still limited to the few people vetted by OpenAI, and offered another proposition: powerful image generation for those who wanted it.
Some are obvious in hindsight.
That triggered the next turning point: the launch of ChatGPT, the AI Ford Model T. Openly accessible, easy to use, and powerful in appearance, it captured the imagination and pushed technology to the top of the hype cycle.
Now, just a few months later, we are seeing a third emergence as AI systems move from standalone services to deeply integrated with the tools and apps we already use to work and live.
Last Tuesday, Google announced a suite of AI tools for productivity suites. Finally, users can use the company’s Large Language Model (LLM) to generate text directly in Gmail or Google Docs. Generate images, audio and video with your slides. Ask complex natural language questions and manipulate data in Google Sheets.
The company has avoided saying when these features will roll out. In true Google style, the company seemed more concerned with showing off its undeniable skills than shipping projects.
But don’t ignore light industrial espionage as a motive. A few days later, when Microsoft held a new Copilot feature launch event for Microsoft 365 (known as MS Office, which was technically retired earlier this year), the motivation for announcing the feature became apparent. became. .
The features Microsoft showed on Thursday are pretty impressive. Join a Teams video chat and ask for a quick overview of the discussion so far, as well as how other participants in the call received certain suggestions. Copilot doesn’t just create emails inviting people to birthday parties, but also prompts them to respond with anecdotes they can use in their speeches, and automatically pulls the top three stories from those responses to reduce length and content. edit directly. Notes for the lecture itself. Microsoft says Copilot isn’t just his version of GPT-4 awkwardly glued to Office. The company says this is tightly integrated with the raw data behind everything users do, which could result in more accurate data.
But in my opinion, that is less significant than the fact that Office, a corporate goliath, has an AI system already integrated. Millions of people worldwide will be able to hire a powerful AI as a coworker once these features become available, and Google flips the switch in its own web apps, without needing to win over management, without having to test out and trust a new provider, and without anyone consciously choosing to “pivot to AI”.