AI Insider No. 46

Welcome back, AI Insiders! I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing the usual deluge in my inbox slowing down. Maybe it’s the start of the summer lull. Whatever it is, it’s a welcome respite. However, that doesn’t mean nothing is happening in AI land. We (the bots and me) have culled the happenings to update you on the latest. As always, if you like what you see here, feel free to drop something in the tip jar to support AI Insider. 

Logo for Apple’s developer conference. (Apple)

Apple Set to Announce New AI Features

By Michelle Johnson, Editor AI Insider

According to the rumor mill and journalists in the know, Apple is about to unleash some cool AI goodies during tomorrow’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote.

These sources say that Apple’s AI strategy, dubbed “Apple Intelligence,” will steer clear of flashy tech and instead focus on embedding AI to tackle basics like summarizing web page content or generating replies to emails.

A report by Bloomberg’s Mark Guran (sorry, paywall) laid out lots of details. He also pointed out that Apple will be slapping a “beta” label on its AI offerings. That’s a welcome bit of transparency. Will that tamp down some of the hype and expectations of what this technology can do? We shall see.

And we’ll also see how good the pundits are at getting exclusives from company insiders. Here’s a checklist you can use to figure out how many of these features actually get announced. Watch here on Monday, 1 pm, Eastern. And, as always, we seek to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?”

Here you go:

Siri Refresh: No surprise here. Apple’s Siri has fallen behind bots like ChatGPT and Gemni. We’ve been waiting for Siri, the AI Edition. According to Bloomberg’s Guran, “Siri users will be able to have precise control over individual features and actions within apps. For instance, people will be able to tell Siri to delete an email, edit a photo, or summarize a news article.”

Summarization and Replies: Are you trying not to look at those long meeting notes or TL;DR articles on some website? Expect to be able to ask for summaries of web pages in Safari, email, meeting notes, and text messages. Suggested replies to emails and texts are expected to appear automatically. Yay!

Mail Update: A Gmail feature is coming your way if you use Apple’s Mail app (I don’t. Gmail all the way!). Mail will now automatically categorize your incoming messages. Or you could just switch to Gmail. Just sayin’.

Photos App: Not surprisingly, AI-powered editing tools will be added. This is one area that’s been hot for a while. You’ll be able to easily remove distractions, such as a pole behind someone’s head or a pesky Ex that you want to forget.  

DIY Emoji: OK, it’s more like DIY AI Emoji. You’re not actually drawing it yourself, but imagine being able to write a prompt that makes a custom emoji for you. I hope this one drops soon because I’ve used the same three emojis for years.

Voice App Transcription: Transcribed recordings aren’t exactly new. Many of us use third-party apps, or if you’re a Google Pixel phone user, you’ve had this for a while. Let’s all welcome Voice to the transcription party. Clap, clap.

Finally, don’t say yes yet. If you want more, check out coverage from MacRumors about AI updates to Apple Music (AI-generated playlists!), Apple News, and more.

These are just a few of the features purported to be coming from Apple. Where do we sign up? Hold on, Insiders. Do you have an iPhone 15 Pro, an iPad, or a Mac with an M1 chip or higher? Then you’re good to go. If not, surprise, surprise. You’ll probably have to upgrade to get to the AI goodies.

A sampling of vacation planner GPTs. (Screenshot)

ChatGPT Can Plan Your Vacation

By Michelle Johnson and ChatGPT, for AI Insider

Have you tried out the GPTs now available to everyone via ChatGPT? OpenAI recently made this app store-like feature free for everyone.

If you haven’t explored them yet, consider checking out the travel-themed GPTs as you plan your summer vacation or even a day trip. These customized bots can assist with everything from choosing a destination to creating detailed itineraries.

One of the standout features of GPTs is their ability to provide personalized recommendations. By analyzing your preferences, budget, and travel history, these AI tools can suggest destinations that perfectly match your interests. Whether you’re looking for a quiet beach retreat, an adventurous hiking trip, or a bustling city tour, GPTs can tailor suggestions to match your prompt requests.

Once you’ve chosen your destination, the next step is planning activities. GPTs can create comprehensive itineraries that include must-see attractions, local dining spots, and hidden gems. They can even incorporate practical details like opening hours and ticket prices. All you need to do is provide a few details about your interests, and the AI does the rest.

GPTs can also streamline the booking process. They can search for the best deals on flights, hotels, and car rentals, comparing prices across multiple platforms to ensure you get the best value for your money. Additionally, they can help you book tours, activities, and restaurant reservations, saving you time and effort.

Beyond planning and booking, GPTs offer invaluable travel tips and advice. They can provide insights into local customs, weather conditions, and essential items to pack. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, they can also offer language tips and common phrases to help you navigate with ease.

While on your vacation, GPTs remain a handy resource. Need a last-minute restaurant recommendation? Looking for the fastest route to a tourist spot? GPTs can provide real-time assistance through your smartphone.

If you’re not familiar with GPTs on ChatGPT, look for the “Explore GPTs” link in the left-hand menu, then enter a keyword to search.


Also recommended: Google’s Gemini. It’s stellar at this kind of planning and will generate useful Google maps, too. Click “Settings” (lower left in the left-hand menu) to turn on extensions for Google Flights, Google Hotels, and Google Maps, then prompt away!

Gemini’s travel-related extensions. (Screenshot)

Humane Warns Users Not to Use Charging Case

By Claude and ChatGPT, for AI Insider

Artificial intelligence startup Humane AI has issued an urgent advisory to users of its $699 AI Pin, instructing them to “immediately stop” using the Charge Case accessory because the battery could potentially be a fire hazard. 

The Humane AI pin is a wearable device designed to provide users with an AI-powered personal assistant that operates independently of smartphones or other traditional screens. Its unique display is beamed into a user’s palm.

(Humane AI)

The company, citing customer safety as its top priority, emailed users about the battery issue on Wednesday and published a warning on its website.

As compensation for the inconvenience, Humane is offering users two months of free subscription to its service, valued at $48. The Charge Case is currently listed as out of stock on Humane’s website, with a promise to ship when available.

This setback comes after a rocky launch for the AI Pin in April. Critics lambasted the device for failing to live up to its hype. Reviewers dinged it for having poor battery life and being buggy, slow, and difficult to use. On Thursday, in a story headlined “How a Bold A.I. Device Flopped (Unlocked link.),”  The New York Times detailed a rocky path toward the development and release of a product that falls into a new class of AI-powered hardware.

Humane has reportedly raised $240 million, which is valued at $1 billion. Recent reports suggest the San Francisco-based startup is exploring a sale to HP and seeking additional funding. Humane’s leadership has declined to comment on these reports.

(Sword Health)

The AI Physical Therapist is In

By Copilot, for AI Insider

AI in physical therapy? That’s what a company called Sword Health has just launched its newest product, Phoenix.

Imagine having a physical therapist who’s super smart and understands your every ache and pain. Phoenix isn’t just a pretty interface. It watches your every move like a hawk (virtually) and gives you feedback as you do those assigned exercises. And the best part? It learns from you. Each session is like a coffee date where Phoenix gets to know you better, making sure your next rendezvous is even more tailored to your needs. (Or so the company says.)

But don’t worry, it’s not all AI in there. Human clinicians are still the captains of this ship, steering your therapy plan with the wisdom their years of experience can bring. Phoenix may suggest a tango twist for your knee rehab, but your human therapist will make sure it’s the right move for you.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Firefly-question-marks-rising-from-flames-94723-1-300x300.jpg

What. The. Actual. Hell?

By Michelle Johnson, Editor, AI Insider

Apparently, given access to cutting-edge generative AI tools, some people default to creating the docile-looking but hot virtual girlfriends of their dreams. 

Anyone who’s used an AI image generator for any length of time has seen users push out a steady stream of idealized women with large busts and come-hither looks. (I‘ve written about that in this space.

Question: Is the first-ever “Miss AI” beauty pageant meant to be the antidote? You decide.

Some 1,500 faux ladies were submitted to this international competition, vying for the title awarded by the World AI Creator Awards in partnership with Fanvue (which is some kind of social platform for creators).

The judges (mostly women!) have narrowed the contestants down to the top 10, but this article about it calls the whole thing “cringey as hell.” 

Sure. If you read the descriptions written by their creators, you can just imagine these faux women on a stage gushing about world peace.

There’s the contestant generated from Morroco, Kenza Layli. “Her goal is to contribute to the empowerment of women in Morocco and the Middle East, while also bringing much-needed regulation to the influencer market,” according to her creator. Empowerment and regulation? How does that work?

Aiyana (Romania) “is a voice for LGBT acceptance, promoting love and diversity in all forms.” Great. No complaints here.

But how exactly does Olivia C (Portugal), with the pouty lips and lidded gaze, “pave the way for a future in which the digital and human realms co-exist in beautiful harmony?” Looking at her, I envision a hookup like in the movie “Her.”

Olivia C, generated in Portugal.

After being charmed by the movie Barbie, this non-Barbie fan knows better than to cast shade on a world that I steered clear of in my feminist childhood. So, I’ll just end by saying that the winner will be announced later this month. Good luck to all of the contestants!

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Aht Gallery

Ah, summer! Here’s a gallery of heartwarming AI-generated images of families enjoying a typical day at the beach. Enjoy!

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