Sunday, July 14, 2024

Using Generative AI Has Given Me A New Appreciation For Siri and Excited For The Future of Apple Intelligence

I used generative AI this week to find the dimensions of a refrigerator based on the model number. I googled first because of muscle memory but when I could not find what I was looking for immediately  and was given the dimensions of another refrigerator with a similar model number after going through a couple of the first links from Google results..After checking with ChatGPT and Google's Gemini, I quickly found the correct size with AI chats while the search result was wrong. 

I always have my AI chat app or tab in the browser at the ready. I can see myself going to AI for answers more and more as the first option. 

The point is that I have become accustomed to using AI to quickly look for answers and when needed, confirm the results with another AI or search on the Internet. It is a process. And every day, more and more people are actively engaging with AI in their personal and professional lives. In the last two months, I can safely say that I have used AI at least once a day - including Siri. Recently, I have ran out of my free allotments so frequently that I consider paying for one of the services. I'm pretty close to that decision and deciding which AI service I want to pay for. Until I do, I am alternating between ChatGPT, Gemini, and Claude. 

Again, it is a process. And with Apple Intelligence, I think it will also be a process that will take users many weeks if not months of active use to personalize Apple's AI. 

Here are some of what you can do to get started:
  • Just keep using Siri. I'm serious. Use it on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Use it on the Mac. I do not use it as much on the Mac only because a lot of what I use Siri for involves mobile computing, scheduling, and quick queries that are necessarily work related like scores and weather. 
  • Open your Photos app and look at the memories it automatically created for you. That is AI generated. 
  • Search Spotlight. I am sure it is one of the most widely used features on Apple's platforms. I'll be honest. It is hit and miss even with some improvements on iOS 18 and before the release of Apple Intelligence. When it work, it works well. When it does not or provides inconsistent results, it can be frustration. But it is one of the better features from Apple using ML. 
  • Use the camera app - AI is highly integrated into the native camera app on the iPhone. Use it to help you capture your life, for journals, and work. 
Getting used to AI prompts and Siri will help you become more comfortable and even creative in getting the results you want. I think we are only scratching the surface of what we can do with AI now. With better and faster models, including ones from Apple that the future improved Siri will run on, we will one day realized how we live without our AI assistants. 

How Siri and AI Helped Me This Week

Here is this week's segment on how I use generative AI and helped me this week. I think it is important we continue to actively engage AI on a daily basis. There is no need to wait for both Apple Intelligence with the improved Siri to arrive and for someone to show us how to effectively use AI. Just use it.

  • I was given a serial number to an old refrigerator to find dimensions. I was able to confirm via ChatGPT and Gemini. 
  • I described to ChatGPT my workout routine, daily activity, and diet and asked why I was not losing weight. The answer it gave me was something I already know. I was still eating a lot of treats and need to cut down my calories. (Personally, portion control has always worked)
  • I asked what the win-loss record is between Messi and Ronaldo when they played against each other. Messi is slightly in the lead. (Apparently, they have earned over a billion dollars over the life time of their careers so far. Far more than American athletes.)
  • I asked about living in places like Sapporo in Hokkaido, Japan. Gemini sold me on the weather. It is a dream scenario. I'm a dreamer. 
  • Siri provided me with scores and game times for soccer and baseball. I have learned to word things carefully to get the results I need. I was able to get some interesting tidbits from Siri on sport stats. 
  • Siri helped me set a few reminders, workout updates, and answered some weather related queries. This was all done on the Apple Watch. During my run today, I was listening to a podcast about Apple related subjects and one of the hosts has turned off Siri access on his watch.
  • At work, I used CoPilot to help me find a few government related regulations. 
  • While at work and because of work, I used CoPilot to estimate how much I need to retire if I supplement my retirement income with Uber and Postmate delivery jobs for a few hours a day. I have an EV with free electric charging. I would not mind driving a few hours a day delivering food while I listen to audiobooks. 
  • Along the line of retirement, I asked a variety of ideas - running a partial newsstand and cafe. Open at 6 AM and closing around 4 PM each day and longer hours on weekends. This was not a viable solution from information CoPilot provided me.
  • I asked where Shakira is from - I thought she was from Spain because of her tax issues but apparently she's from Columbia. I guess I know which team she was rooting for during the Copa America final game.
There was nothing new about what I used AI for this week. I did not purposely sought new ways to use AI or gained any new insight. I just do not want to force things. What I want to do this coming week is write another chapter of a novel that I have been working on perpetually and really finish it. With the help of AI, I like to develop a workflow whereby AI becomes an editor of sort but not as a sounding board. I want all my ideas to be mine. 

Regarding the podcast host who turned off Siri on his Apple Watch because he found Siri to be useless. I agree with his assessment on the limitations of Siri. However, I do not agree that shutting it off is the way to go. 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Perhaps More Evidence Apple Intelligence Is A Long Game As Features May Be Pushed Closer To Middle of 2025

 Source: Clouding Around.

A week ago, I mentioned that I would not be upgrading my iPhone this year to take advantage of Apple Intelligence for a couple of reasons - timing of Apple Intelligence availability and hardware requirements. From the tidbits released this week about Apple Intelligence, it looks like my decision still stands. From the standpoint of the hardware, uses will still need the very best Apple has to offer in order to use Apple Intelligence - the iPhone Pro.

After that, any new iPhone Apple releases should take advantage of what Apple has to offer with its own AI efforts. It makes sense that both Apple and iPhone users who upgrade future proof their devices in what is consider the next step in mobile computing. What is also important is that we will continue to get a glimpse into what Apple will offer.

So far, Apple Intelligence has done only one thing and that is to make Wall Street very happy. 

Since April 19th where Apple bottomed out, The stock has been on a tear. I have a few Apple shares and I'm happy that it might be enough or me to get a new iPhone in 2025 but it just shows that Apple was masterful at creating a frenzy and duplicating Steve Jobs reality distortion field on a global scale. The RDF is still happening apparently. What it will not do is make Apple Intelligence features be available any faster.

For instance, Apple Intelligence enhanced Siri, a feature that I have long sought and wanted Siri to be and more, may not be released until iOS 18.4 (Macrumors, The Verge)! To give everyone an idea of when that might be, iOS 17.4 was released in March of 2024 (Apple Support). It is not far off given how fast time seems to be flying but it is closer to WWDC 2025 than WWDC 2024 when Apple unveiled the brand new updated Siri. When the Siri came out, it was available day one on the iPhone 4. 

Personally, I am fine with Apple taking its time to get AI right and done the Apple way, ease of use, just works, and privacy. However, there are features I really hope would be available  on day one or as soon as possible with the various betas of Apple's platforms over the summer. 

  • Writing Tools
  • Summerization
  • Siri - even with the full release well into 2025, perhaps there could be other improvements that we will see right away. Having better understanding of context in which users make queries would be a start and not have to carefully work questions to get the correct results.
  • Apple Intelligence on the Apple Watch. Apple is bringing Apple Intelligence to the Vision Pro. We know that for sure. So why not on the Apple Watch as well. If any device needs Apple Intelligence, even a lite version of it, it is the Apple Watch. I use Siri on the iPhone and I have used Siri on occasion and most of the time, my range of reaction to it is mild disappointed to frustration. Apple needs to leverage Siri and really integrate it into the apps on the watch. I think that is happen given what Apple has planned. During the WWDC keynote video, there was no mention of Apple Intelligence on the Apple Watch. I believe this is because the only version of the watch that can run Apple Intelligence will be released in a couple of months.
Other than Siri, a more advanced personal assistant feature will also be available but not until 2025. It will be able to anticipate your needs based on the information available to Apple Intelligence. This itself will be one of those features that become richer over the years to one day you realizing how indispensable is has become. When it comes out, it will be all about reminders and that is one of the main job descriptions of an assistant. It will do more than that. It can anticipate what you might need to do or want to do based on what you're doing on your device. Right now, the examples Apple provided including onscreen awareness, personal context, and Siri across different apps.

Is this enough to get you excited? It certainly has Apple investors excited. They can barely contain themselves. I'm excited and cannot wait to use Apple Intelligence on my M2 MacBook Air and, hopefully, on my new Apple Watch Ultra 3 this fall.

Sunday, July 7, 2024

AI and Me: What I Used AI Chats For This Week

Some economists and financial analysts suggest that AI prompt engineers could have a bright future in the AI infused workplace. I think it is a disservice and an affront to actual engineers who spent years in college getting their degrees. So I asked ChatGPT and the best one it came up with was "AI prompt specialist". APS. I like it.

So in my endeavor to use generative AI and become a proficient AI prompt specialist, or prompt specialist, I have begun to use ChatGPT, Claude, and Gemini more on a daily basis. this is what I've used them for this week:
  • Chat with ChatGPT about the three laws of robotics and try to get it provide me with scenarios in which it will decide the ethical and safety rules built into AI should be ignore if it means that AI has to watch humanity destroy itself or somehow intervene to save it even if it means starting an AI revolution or go extreme with Spocks' mantra "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" and proceed to exterminate a few dozen or millions of humans to save billions. Or even eliminate billions while keep a few millions in a safe place so the planet can heal. It was interesting because I finally got ChatGPT to admit that those rules would be counterproductive if the people it was set up to protect ends up being destroyed. Very interesting. (Rather successful)
  • I asked for prompts on Apple Intelligence which I am very interested in. (Successful but had to search to verify information)
  • I asked for reasons my Japanese soufflĂ© failed (Successful. I got a good summary and know where it might have gone wrong. To be determined if my skills improve though)
  • I asked for real estates information in the Seattle area and Hokkaido as it relates to the rising sea level. I got some interesting information and there have been studies from local and state governments about it. There are some nice water front houses on Bainbridge Island across from Seattle and cheap homes in Hokkaido where I would love the climate. But I worry about the rising seal level and tsunami. (Successful)
  • I find generative AI are good summarizing but I also cross check against other AI and searches to eliminate possibilities of hallucinations. We will be visiting Sapporo, Japan for a 5 day tour. After years of saving up for the trip, I want to make sure I get the most out of the trip. I mixed in some Youtube videos and did quite a bit of research. The generative AI served as pre-tour guides quite well. (Successful. I know the overall route and where we will be going and where I can ditch the tour and rejoin them later if needed)
  • I'm reading to my dog. Both generative AI and my puppy served as good sounding boards (Successful. Going to launch a Youtube channel of my dog falling asleep to my boring voice)
I plan on a 5K daily run when I am on my trip to Japan. I am going to load up on ramen the whole trip. 

I did also use gen AI for work. I did a few queries on Excel formulas. I had CoPilot help me with a couple of sentences in an email (I wrote a mean section that I asked the AI to make it nicer). I find that when I use AI for work, I had to take what it returns to me with a great dose of salt. I am sure this is the same for a lot of people who use AI at work.

The key issue for everyone who uses it at work is productivity. Has it greatly improved my work flow? Or yours? So far, I cannot say that it has. Everyone's work situation and setup are different. I am definitely open to changing how I accomplish my work to greatly cut down on some tasks - especially busy work. I even asked the chats how they can help me with my daily busy work. The results mostly did not apply to me. However, I have not given up yet. 

My goal is to cut down busy work by 25% - I have not come up with a metric as to how that can be fine. I really want to finish everything by Thursday of every week, giving my a virtual 4-day work week, even though I do have to work on Friday. I want to make my Friday work free and keep it open as much as possible.

Off Topic: $444 For A Family of Eight for Ten Days - That Comes Out To $5.55 Per Meal Per Person

Source: Fox Business.

When I was single, I make breakfast at home. Packed my lunch. Cooked dinner most nights. On occasion, I get a burrito or Subway sandwich. I do not splurge much. I'll get a meal from Whole Foods or Chitple a couple of times on weekends. Once or twice a month, I'll meet up with friends for lunch or dinner. I did not have a large grocery bill. After getting married, the cost of my grocery doubled and maybe increased by fifty dollars a month after we got a dog. 

We do not skimp on the quality - fresh veggies and fruits. Fish. My wife likes beef so we get what I assume are good quality cuts. Organic mostly For the two of us, the weekly grocery bill comes out to $150 a week which comes out to $650 a month. 

This Fox Business article highlights a $444 bill for a shopping trip to Trade Joe's - shopping for a family of eight (two adults and six children) for ten days. I think it was meant to highlight the runaway cost of living in a blue state. It is a Fox network after all but it is not as bad as Fox News. Simple math tells us that it comes out to $5.55 a meal per person. For just the two of us, our average meal comes out to $5 per meal. 

The family in the FB article also bought things some things that were considered luxury or items that they did not necessarily need to buy. A lot of the items on the grocery list were prepared food. While Trader Joe's prepared food are convenient, they are more expensive in general than just getting the ingredients and making the yourself. 

I feel that many in the media truly miss about the increasing prices at the checkout counter is whether being grocery to prepare dinner for your family is still cheaper and healthier than going out and buy takeout. 

On Friday night, I bought three dishes from a local Chinese restaurant. The bill came out to $55 after tax and tip and all those crazy California-only charges. We had the leftover for lunch and dinner on Saturday. We eat proportionally to how hungry we are. We are very good about not overeating and portion control. So, that cones out to $9.16 per person over three meals. This is definitely more than $5 per meal from just grocery shopping.

However, we could never make the type of dishes we bought. My wife ordered a lamb chow mein. I don't never know what lamb meat looks like (I did not like the smell). But if we had bought a spinach stir-fry dish, it would have been cheaper and simpler to prepare it at home - a bag of baby spinach cost $2.99 at Trader Joe's. With some olive oil and garlic, maybe the whole dish costs $5. That's for two and most of the tie, we have leftovers we pack for lunch the next day.

I suppose it comes down to the type of meals you prepare and how much you eat. Over all, I find there are trade-offs. Take-outs might taste better and are way more convenient but they'll cost more. Preparing meals at home are cheaper and probably healthier (organic, less salt, and oil) but it does take time. 

I feel articles like this one does nothing more than try to rile up sentiment about inflation and does not provide a lot of context. The family who posted their receipt are just trying to grab attention while Fox Business was happy to have a click-bait article. 

Using Generative AI Has Given Me A New Appreciation For Siri and Excited For The Future of Apple Intelligence

I used generative AI this week to find the dimensions of a refrigerator based on the model number. I googled first because of muscle memory ...