An always-on AI assistant that understands the context of your screen
Plus: automation has always been about killing tedious work
A weekly newsletter that highlights new and innovative AI products that are worth exploring.
I have returned from Oregon and am catching up on all the happenings in AI. I have a couple of neat products to share with you!
In this week’s issue:
impel, an always-on AI assistant, is my product of the week
YC-backed Sola helps you automate your workflows with AI
Plus, a recommended read on how automation has always been about killing tedious work
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
After testing dozens of new AI products this week. Here’s my top pick.
impel: An always-on AI assistant
The killer value prop of impel is that it’s a “always on.” Meaning it runs in the background on your Mac, monitoring your screen, analyzing what you are looking at and then surfacing suggestions and actions.
At first glance this feels a little Black Mirror’ish. Who wants something always monitoring what they are doing? But, I think this is where we are headed when it comes to AI assistants. They are only as useful as to how much they know about you. An always-on assistant is going to have waaayy more context about everything you do and thus be much more useful.
impel highlights their commitment to privacy and their plans to protect your data, which is reassuring.
A few use cases that impel is built for:
Simplify logins. impel automatically retrieves verification codes or links from your email or authenticator app, making login flows a breeze. No more switching between tabs.
Efficient task management. impel collects and manages your to-do list as you use your Mac, prioritizing tasks and notifying you just in time. Whether it's a deadline, a subscription cancellation, or a reminder to catch your flight, impel will remind you.
Record and transcribe meetings. Self-explanatory, it’s nice that with impel you don’t need to invite a bot to the meeting to record.
One more AI product that is worth your time.
Sola: Automate workflows with AI. To be honest, I haven't been able to test this one first hand, as it is currently in closed beta and focused on enterprise clients. However, the demos look very promising. Essentially, Sola enables you to build bots for your business that can complete complex, yet repetitive workflows. For example, Sola can be used to complete legal filings. Based on data in a spreadsheet, the bot can log into a legal website on your behalf, fill out the appropriate portions of the filing, and then submit it. It's exciting to see AI being used to help with complex workflows.
OTHER AI THINGS HAPPENED
Some other notable news and product launches from this week
Bloomberg reports that Biden is planning to sign an executive order by mid-August that will curb US tech investments in Chinese chips and AI.
MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have introduced “PhotoGuard,” an AI tool designed to combat generative AI models like DALL-E and Midjourney. Very interesting approach on manipulating the image’s pixels to make it hard for the models to view them.
Meta announced AudioCraft, a framework to generate what it describes as “high-quality,” “realistic” audio and music from short text descriptions, or prompts.
Personalized news app Artifact, developed by Instagram’s founders, adds AI text-to-speech voices, including Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow. I was using this app religiously when it came out, but my usage has dropped off as the recommendations have gotten worse and worse. Perhaps audio versions of my recommended articles will bring me back.
Photoshop’s new generative AI feature lets you ‘uncrop’ images. I’ve played around with this a bit and I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.
YouTube is running a new test to auto-generate video summaries with the use of AI
WHAT I'M READING
If you only read one thing this week let it be this.
In Praise of Boring AI by Ethan Mollick
"We spend a lot of time discussing the aspects of AI that are, for better or worse, exciting. The idea that super-intelligent AIs may one day murder or save us all — certainly not dull! The ways AI might displace our jobs or transform education — interesting! But, today, I want to cover the boring aspects of AI. As context, one of the first major experimental papers on the impact of ChatGPT on work just came out in Science (based on the free working paper here) and the results are pretty impressive: in realistic business writing tasks, ChatGPT decreased the time required for work by 40%, even as outside evaluators rated the quality of work written with the help of AI to be 18% better than the ones done by humans alone. After using it, people were more worried about their jobs… but also significantly happier - why?..." ONE USEFUL THING
Until next week!
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