I’ve been looking into the Microsoft et al implementations of AI tech in consumer products. With more information, I’ve got more thoughts.
On the Windows OS, it appears that, for the time being, MS is not building it into the actual OS. They going to be bringing it in via apps, in particular the Edge browser and the Bing search engine. If that’s how they do it for the remainder of the Windows 11 lifespan, that’s easy enough to deal with–avoid those apps. I can make that happen without much trouble.
I expect when Windows 12 shows up, some amount of AI will be baked in. That’s my somewhat informed opinion based on my observations of how Microsoft has historically worked.
Microsoft’s application software is another matter entirely. I’ve watched a number of Microsoft videos on all the gee-whiz things the AI in Office 365 will enable you to do. To be honest, If I was still working I’d probably be all over this. Especially when doing things like resource usage projections, this stuff would be great. “Line graph disk usage on all online storage arrays over the last 36 months and give me a trend line” or some such. Boom.
But as a consumer, as a home user, I do things like that rarely if ever. I use Word. I use Excel. I use Outlook. And I use probably less than 10% of the capabilities of any of these, and having AI won’t change my life in the slightest. Except when it helpfully gets in the way even more often than Office does now. That stuff drives me nuts. Stop it already.
My Office 365 subscription was due to renew in 4 days. I went to the Office website to disable the automatic renewal. I wasn’t looking forward to changing much of my (remaining) computing life in 4 days, but it is what it is, and I’ll get it done. Microsoft’s website has something programmed into it to do some very basic customer recovery. It helpfully offered to extend my subscription for two months, on the house. I’ll take that, thanks. It gives me time to more thoughtfully plot my next moves. Libre Office is a no-brainer, but I haven’t found an email client that I like as much as I like Outlook. The search continues.
After that, I’m going to set up a Linux-based system and use it to experiment on until I have everything to suit me. This could take a while, and I’m not going to push the issue. I want this to be more of an organic process if at all possible. I’ve found that, at least for me, that just works better these days.
I can see a time when you might have “AI-enhanced” items in your home that have to be attached to the Intertubz to provide you with the functionality you need, such as a TV. But I can also see another separate, not-connected-to-the-Intertubz system, based on older hardware and software. To be perhaps paranoid about things, you keep this studiously separate from the Intertubz connected gear. You don’t even download stuff and transfer it via a thumb drive. Never the twain shall meet.
At a long-ago employer, we “had” to put in a point-of-sale system as their old cash registers were supposedly non-Y2K compliant. Oh, and please do this on an insufficient budget, thanks. So, none of us knowing much about such things, we put one in. It worked, but there were a lot of deficiencies. When the time came to use what we’d learned and put in a replacement, we looked at a number of systems. One of them was still running the terminals on MS-DOS. We joked that, if we selected it, our motto was going to be “Back to the future with MS-DOS!”
Whoda thunk it might wind up not being a joke at some future date?