Talk to Google Sheets with Formula God
Plus: how to spot AI snake oil
A weekly newsletter that highlights new and innovative AI products that are worth exploring.
A big welcome to this week’s 1,314 new subscribers! I’m glad you are here.
I am back in Seattle after a refreshing weekend in San Diego. It's hard to beat a weekend full of playing Kan Jam on the beach and eating a tremendous number of tacos. But, it’s been nice to get back to the family and back to testing out new AI products.
In this week’s issue:
Formula God is my product of the week
Autodesigner is knocking people’s socks off
Superpowered gives you meeting notes without that awkward bot
Plus, a recommended read on how to spot AI snake oil
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
After testing dozens of new AI products this week. Here’s my top pick.
Formula God: Talk to Google Sheets.
No, I didn’t just pick Formula God because they came up with a great name for their product…although it is damn good. I picked it because the product works really well. Now, if you are an Excel formula wizard, this product is not for you. Formula God is for someone that occasionally uses Google Sheets for data analysis and knows that formulas are the magic sauce to a good spreadsheet, but always forgets how to write formulas.
With Formula God all you do is select your data and then type in plain english what you want the output to be. Voila, the Formula God makes it so.
Personally, I think the most useful function is that you can use it to clean up the data in a column simply by describing how you want the data cleaned up. It also does all the fancy formulas like vlookups and conditional statements.
They have a free tier, but you are likely to burn through the credits real quick. Their standard “Demi God Plan” for $9.99 should give you enough credits for most of your needs.
Two more AI products that are worth your time.
Uizard Autodesigner: Early stage prototyping is going to get faster. Uizard is a popular interface designer that provides beautiful templates used by designers and user experience professionals. Earlier this year they announced "Autodesigner," a tool that enables you to input a sentence or two and it will produce multiple screen mockups for your app or website. This week they finally opened up the beta. I’ve been using it to design a few prototypes of some business ideas that I have and I’ve been impressed with how easy it is. Autodesigner is going to speed up early product validation, since you no longer need a designer to spend days creating mockups or wireframes for early user testing. Instead, you can get high-fidelity designs in just a couple of hours, all by yourself. You need to be on their pro plan to use it, $19 per month.
Superpowered: Meeting notes without the awkward bot. I’ve gotten feedback from subscribers that the previous meeting notes apps that I’ve featured require you to invite a bot to the meeting which can lead to some awkward conversations, especially if it’s the first time meeting with someone. Well Superpowered has solved that issue. It’s a Mac or Windows app that can listen to your meeting without the need to be invited to the meeting. Plus, the audio is transcribed live and deleted immediately. They are also both SOC-2 Type-2 and GDPR compliant, which are the industry standards for security, reliability and privacy. $30 per month for the premium plan.
OTHER AI THINGS HAPPENED
Some other notable news and product launches from this week.
Meta open sources an AI-powered music generator, MusicGen, which similar to Google’s earlier this year. But, what’s cool about Meta’s version is that you can also upload a reference audio file to steer the model so that it better matches the melody you want.
Salesforce has launched AI Cloud, an enterprise AI platform designed to enhance productivity across all Salesforce applications. Probably the most notable part of their announcement is the new “Einstein Trust Layer” which aims to set a new industry standard for enterprise AI architecture by prioritizing data privacy and security.
The European Parliament has hit another negotiation milestone and is moving toward agreeing on a new EU rulebook for AI. This will have implications for pretty much every AI company.
Google postponed it’s launch of Bard in the EU after a privacy regulator raised concerns. No word on when the Bard EU launch will now happen.
Google launched a slew of new AI-powered products recently. The two that caught my eye: Google Shopping will enable you to preview clothes on different models, and Google Lens can now search skin conditions based on a picture. Is that a rash or something more sinister?
WHAT I'M READING
If you only read one thing this week let it be this.
How to Recognize AI Snake Oil by Arvind Narayanan
"Much of what’s being sold as ‘AI’ today is snake oil — it does not and cannot work. Why is this happening? How can we recognize flawed AI claims and push back? AI is an umbrella term for a set of related technologies. Some of those technologies have made genuine, remarkable, widely-publicized progress. Some companies exploit public confusion, slap the ‘AI’ label on whatever they’re selling. This is my hypothesis for why there’s so much AI snake oil and why policy makers and decision makers are falling for it…” PRINCETON.EDU
note: this week’s long read is a PDF slide deck of a presentation that a Princeton Associate Professor of Computer Science gave to MIT in 2019. The academic talk went viral and has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.
Until next week!
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