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Business Tech Roundup: Zoom Meetings Are About To Get Weirder

By February 4, 2024No Comments

(This column originally appeared in Forbes)


Here are five things in tech that happened this week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Zoom meetings are about to get weirder thanks to Apple’s Vision Pro.

Zoom is enhancing the virtual meeting experience with its new Vision Pro app. In conjunction with Apple Vision Pro this will give users the ability to participate in Zoom meetings using a digital representation (their avatar). (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Participants will experience the same expressions and gestures of the user without the headset. The app will also allow users to be immersed into various environments that will blend with their own. Beyond these features, Zoom plans to develop a “real-world pinning” function that gives the user the capability of virtually placing meeting participants into their own environment. The company aims to “make hybrid collaboration more immersive” giving collaborators “the ultimate meeting experience.” Whether or not your employees want to be sporting a 20 ounce headset from Mars is another matter.

2 – Is Microsoft Edge Sneakily Replacing Chrome?

Windows 10 and 11 users have noticed an odd glitch involving Google Chrome. There have been reports of Chrome suddenly being switched out with Microsoft Edge – with the same tabs previously opened in Chrome. The Verge’s Tom Warren – who uses Chrome as his default browser – posted a report on Monday and detailed this strange glitch he discovered. Edge had not only replicated the tabs, it also “took over” where he left off in his browsing timeline. Other users are experiencing the same thing though Microsoft hasn’t publicly addressed it. Warren suspects there’s a glitch in Microsoft’s settings where browsers can be changed along importing data into the chosen default browser, which mysteriously shows up as Edge, unprompted. (Source: Ars Technica)

Why this is important for your business:

Oh right…a “glitch.” I’m not sure how happy I’d be – as a happy Chrome user – to suddenly and without my permission find my browser replaced by Edge, good as it may be. If any of your employees bring this to your attention, now you know.

3 – OpenAI quietly slips in update for ChatGPT that allows users to tag their own custom-crafted chatbots.

For ChatGPT Plus subscribers, a new discovery was made that will shortcut the process of finding and using a GPT. By using ‘@’ – as noted by @danshipper, a ChatGPT enthusiast – you can activate a custom chatbot/GPT. Announced in November of last year, OpenAI offered subscribers the ability to create their own personalized chatbot. Since then, thousands of GPTs have been created and subscribers can now find them more easily. OpenAI has yet to make an official announcement. (Source: TechRadar)

Why this is important for your business:

The ChatGPT store opened a few weeks and already there are thousands of GPT apps on it (I plan on diving in soon). This is one way to take advantage but it still takes a ChatGPT power user to really understand and leverage its capabilities.

4 – Hate taxes? H&R Block’s new AI chatbot aims to reduce your tax frustrations.

H&R Block has a new tool for tax filers – AI Tax Assist. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the AI assistant will help people answer specific questions about their taxes and simplify the filing process. The service is available at no extra charge when filing through H&R Block’s system. (Source: TechRadar)

Why this is important for your business:

Can you rely on this stuff for accurate recommendations? Concerns have been raised about accuracy issues given reports of AI producing false information or hallucinations when asked certain questions. Developers along with H&R Block have taken steps to minimize these incidents by “leveraging data from The Tax Institute and experience of more than 60,000 tax professionals,” as stated in a company press release. I’m a big fan of generative AI tools like this because – like this tool – provides an expert assistant at your fingertips. But who still doesn’t check their assistant?

5 – An automated AI restaurant opens in California.

CBS news reported on a “fully autonomous AI-powered restaurant” in Pasadena, California called CaliExpress by Flippy. Robots work the fryers and grills. “Flippy” the burger bot can cook 250 pounds of fries an hour. (Source: CBS News)

Why this is important for your business:

“This automation helps solve a lot of those issues,” the owner said. California’s minimum wage increase to $20/hour was also mentioned as an incentive for owners to invest in AI in the fast-food sector. Alongside the robots, human workers put “finishing touches” on the food. Sounds promising, but I’m betting many restaurant owners will be leery of both the cost and reliability.

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