When I joined IBM in the 1980s, they tasked me with helping build what eventually became one of the very first CRM applications. Like that time, I had to work with MIS (now called IT), and the result was terrible. Instead of the app making things easier by automating many repetitive manual tasks, it required more labor, was incredibly annoying to use, and delivered what I thought I had asked for and MIS , showed a disconnect between.
This experience was far from unusual, because even though I could code, the people at MIS didn’t understand the business. They tended to make decisions in a vacuum, which undoubtedly made their jobs easier in terms of building apps, but made users’ jobs much harder because users had surprisingly little to do with the process.
Well, AI is about to change that by slowly turning users into programmers. Microsoft is leading the way with its efforts to add AI capabilities to Windows, Office and the Microsoft Store.
Let’s dive into how Microsoft AI will benefit collaboration and user experiences, and we’ll end with our product of the week: a new set of headphones from Dell’s Alienware unit that look like nothing you’ve ever seen.
bad developer joke
A Facebook post said something like, “Giving users the ability to work with AI to code will mean end users need to clarify what they want, so your jobs are safe. “
The implication was that users generally don’t know what they want, so giving them the ability to create directly with AI would end badly. However, both my experience and this joke highlight the underlying issue that programmers and users lack training in how to collaborate with each other.
Part of the underlying problem is that programmers generally have little interest in business operations, and operations staff have little interest in coding. Since neither side usually wants to learn the nitty-gritty of the other, this can lead to some disgruntled users and very frustrated programmers.
AI has the potential to overcome this problem, because as it progresses, it will naturally try to learn about the user and, over time, be able to provide a result closer to what the user needs. Will happen.
I say “should” because, in my experience, one of the problems often encountered when building an app is that the user hasn’t fully thought through what they want. It is only after looking at the draft app that they will suddenly realize that what they need is not something they got.
AI solves this problem by not having personality, so it doesn’t get irritated, angry or frustrated. It learns through repetition and is willing to iterate infinitely to meet unmet user needs.
But users and programmers will still need to develop competence with the tools. Otherwise, they will likely become frustrated with endless iterations that result from users not being able to fully articulate what they want, and specifically what they want. No want, in the new app.
windows 11 baseline
By placing Generative AI in Windows, Microsoft creates a forcing function trend where users will learn to work with Generative AI to achieve better results. They need to learn to fully articulate their needs in order to reduce the number of annoying iterations it takes for the AI to understand those needs, and most importantly, it needs to develop the skills necessary to understand and communicate that to users. that what they want.
We’ve had some mixed results with this sort of thing. Boolean logic is what the Internet has used to refine searches. Those who learned Boolean logic found that they could get the results they wanted much more quickly than those who did not. Still, we’re not up to our necks in Boolean logic users on the web, showing that the weak link remains users who refuse to learn the skills needed to become more proficient.
However, the difference with AI is that AI can help bridge the gap by learning what makes a particular user unique and attempting to bridge the gap in knowledge and experience. Unlike Boolean logic, which is static, AI will evolve to become a more personalized interface for the user and substantially reduce the need for a unique AI communication skill set for the user.
Users who are in the effort to learn how to better work with AI will benefit, and with AI being in the operating system, they will get plenty of opportunities to practice. Still, I expect most of the communication heavy lifting will come from the AI, not the user, as shown in Microsoft’s Windows Copilot introduction video:
Microsoft is blending AI into the Windows 11 platform to make it easier to use, easier to find apps, easier for developers to offer those apps through the Windows Store, and faster in every aspect of the OS and user experience. Blending AI.
The move to aggressively place AI in all aspects of Windows will dramatically change the user experience over time. Just as we started with a command line interface, then moved to a graphical user interface (GUI), and are now moving to AI interfaces, each step should improve productivity, reduce user frustration, And should bring the development process closer to the respective apps. They should help.
We are at the beginning of the development of this technology, so expect growing pains as it matures. However, it marked an early significant departure from the traditional view of the technology, which forced users to acquire new skill sets in order to take advantage. We are now developing AI systems that will learn how to work with users and effectively flip this dynamic on its head, leading to far more interesting, less frustrating results than expected.
While there are plenty of concerns surrounding AI, for now, these moves from Microsoft represent little risk but promise significant improvements in productivity and user satisfaction.
Alienware Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Headset AW920H – Lunar Light
Alienware products don’t come cheap, so when Dell sent me a set of its AW920H headphones, priced at a very reasonable $179.99 for tri-mode wireless headphones (I’ve found them for as low as $159), I was interested. That’s because most headphones I find in this class are priced in the $250+ range.
These are Dolby Atmos earphones, so you get virtual surround sound, they have up to 55 hours of battery life that can charge in 15 minutes for up to 6 hours using a USB-C fast charger, and they have Dell’s Alienware Aurora The analog ID is the R13 gaming desktop. They come with a mini-phone cable, so you can use them on an airplane or if you have a device that doesn’t support Bluetooth.
The Alienware Tri-Mode Wireless Gaming Headset AW920H supports Dolby Atmos and provides up to 55 hours of playtime on a full charge. (Image credit: Dell)
One cool feature is that if you have an Alienware PC or laptop, they’ll sync the colors of the LEDs on the headset with the LEDs on your PC. Like most headphones in this price range, they have active AI noise canceling on both inbound sound and the microphone (I use Discord when I can, and it’s annoying when game sound is bleeding into the voice stream) It is possible).
I still haven’t found a way to successfully play the game on a plane. There’s often not enough bandwidth on plane Wi-Fi, and there isn’t enough space on a small plane table for a gaming PC, let alone a gaming PC and mouse – and most of the games I play do so properly with a gaming controller. doesn’t work However, Dell showed off a gaming controller prototype at CES that may finally fix that.
The Dell Alienware Tri-Mode AW920H headphones are a bargain for what they do, and while they’re primarily focused on gaming, they should be fine for movies and music as well, and they’re my product of the week.