On Thursday, March 16, Microsoft plans to reveal more of its grand plan for deployment AI chatbot ChatGPT‘s features in even more aspects of our lives – most notably how the tech company has big plans to “reinvent productivity with AI”.
This idea of ”reinventing productivity” is not only perfectly meaningful corporate marketing jargon, but worrying at best, especially since we don’t yet know what it actually entails. There is plenty of speculation that Microsoft plans to integrate ChatGPT into the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office) software suite, along with the Dynamics 365 business suite.
This comes on the heels of Microsoft pushing the chatbot into almost everything it owns. Starting with the integration of ChatGPT in Bing and quickly following AI-powered additions to Skype and the Windows 11 taskbar, Microsoft has been hard at work when it comes to AI in its software.
We had already speculated on the ways in which ChatGPT could do that transform Microsoft’s consumer software suite, so it’s not like this is a big surprise. However, I am concerned about the whole prospect; Microsoft is rushing its AI deployment plan and it will cause more problems than it solves.
The AI arms race
Microsoft’s apparent desire to include AI features in even more of its products is likely in response to competitor Salesforce’s own moves to partner with ChatGPT maker OpenAI to bring the chatbot to Slack (like Snapchat introduces its own AI chatbot) This kind of reactionary decision-making is rarely a wise move, especially when it comes to AI.
ChatGPT has already proven itself as, well, problematic. Whether it is used to commit cybercrime or create fake photo contest entries, AI poses some very serious risks. Many of these problems are caused by human misuse of AI software, but tools like ChatGPT do their own shortcomings.
We are witnessing a real-time arms race to cram AI technology into every aspect of our lives, and I wouldn’t trust Microsoft (or any big technology company, like Google or Meta) to be the harbinger of this chatbot renaissance. At this point, Microsoft is showing a lack of caution when it comes to ChatGPT and AI in general, especially since it’s an area that hasn’t yet seen serious regulation from major governments.
I admit that the arrival of AI to the 365 suite is actually a much less dire idea than say Have ChatGPT create video content. The ability to ask ChatGPT something as simple as “add some animations to my PowerPoint presentation” or “reformat this text document as a letter” is both useful and relatively non-threatening – although the potential for Microsoft Word to easily add content for you write a bit worrying, especially for the academic space.
I’m not saying adding ChatGPT to these tools will ruin our lives, but it has problems – and I’m certainly not convinced that Microsoft is taking proper precautions here. This is a situation where caution is rewarded; Google doesn’t let people get it not yet up close and personal with its new AIand Microsoft itself had to limit responses from Bing chatbots after a whole load of madness of the AI. Moving forward with more AI tools right now? Not a good look.