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Google unveils new AI features, Microsoft lays off AI ethics team.

With Silicon Valley Bank stable today, let’s return to the AI storm.

Google has announced new AI features in Gmail and various Workspace apps.     From the Verge, The features include new ways to generate, summarize, and brainstorm text with AI in Google Docs (similar to how many people use OpenAI’s ChatGPT), the option to generate full emails in Gmail based on users’ brief bullet points, and the ability to produce AI imagery, audio, and video to illustrate presentations in Slides (similar to features in both Microsoft Designer, powered by OpenAI’s DALL-E, and Canva, powered by Stable Diffusion).  End quote.  And more to come.  

As a reminder, Microsoft has an event on their productivity suite and AI on Thursday. Still, meanwhile, Platformer has reported that Microsoft laid off its entire ethics and society team within the artificial intelligence organization as part of recent layoffs that affected 10,000 employees across the company.    Quoting the piece: The move leaves Microsoft without a dedicated team to ensure its AI principles are closely tied to product design at a time when the company is leading the charge to make AI tools available to the mainstream, current and former employees said.  Microsoft still maintains an active Office of Responsible AI, which is tasked with creating rules and principles to govern the company’s AI initiatives. The company says its overall investment in responsibility work is increasing despite the recent layoffs.

I’ve called this Shadow IT on speed — 2.3% of workers have put confidential company information into ChatGPT, according to a recent report from Cyberhaven.   A Fishbowl survey last month found that nearly 70% of employees using ChatGPT at work haven’t told their bosses about it.      There’s an entire Axios piece about large employers trying to block access and another about the personal data used to form the models.  

I did want to note some positive news here – Semafor highlights the use of NewsGuard, the company that employs journalists to rate about 30,000 news sources across nine criteria.  One of the customers – Microsoft, is leveraging it in Bing Search. 

I also want to highlight that large language models are now running on user laptops – Simon Willison has reported on running Meta’s LLaMA model on his laptop.

A new study released by KPMG today finds that 85% of surveyed businesses expect to be using more AI in the coming years, but nearly two-thirds say they need a formalized function in their company to manage AI risks.

Why do we care?

There, right there, is your opportunity.    It’s screaming at you as an opportunity.  The definition of helping customers with their technology.     

Microsoft has generally been credited for being a leader in their thinking about the ethics of AI applications.   I hope they continue… and note that their loss is providers’ gain.   If they are ceding the space of ethics, step right in there.   

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