A little bit of good news about AI

Jack Compere
𝐀𝐈 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐤𝐬.𝐢𝐨
4 min readMay 9, 2024

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Much news involving AI seems to emphasize the possible ill effects — here’s a bit of AI news more benign and that I’ve found very useful.

I’m talking about the following two websites:

https://gemini.google.com/app (this is a Google app), and

https://www.bing.com/chat (a Microsoft site)

…I find I’m now using both sites almost daily, and have nearly discontinued my use of Google search (which has become crowded with ads and often useless because of the ads).

The nice thing about these sites is that they use plain English — you can write to them as you would a (very well-informed) person. It’s important to note that when I’m searching for an answer I will typically use both sites, in case one site has a better (or more complete) answer. For example, I was writing in Word the other day, and I wanted to de-link a reference (that is, a reference was a .com listing, but I didn’t want it hyperlinked — I wanted the reference unlinked and without an underline). Normally I’d try to find out how to do this via Word’s Help, or just by poking around the various commands, but this time I went to the Gemini and Bing sites and asked them.

Oddly enough, the Microsoft site gave me the wrong commands — even though I wrote that I was using a Mac, it gave me PC keyboard commands. The Gemini site gave me the correct command:

1. Using the Right-Click Menu:

· Open your Word document and find the text or image containing the hyperlink you want to remove.

· Control-click (hold down the Control key and click) on the hyperlinked text or image.

· A shortcut menu will appear. Look for the option Link and hover your mouse over it.

· Within the Link submenu, select Remove Hyperlink.

So, score one for Gemini.

As another example, if you’re a hypochondriac like me, you can quickly and completely get answers to medical questions. This can also be a great supplement to a visit to a doctor, because as we know, doctors and physician’s assistants are invariably pressed for time, so when a doctor gives you test results and diagnoses, you can on your own time discover the background to the results/diagnoses — it’s sort of like a visit with a doctor who has all the time in the world to chat. With these tools I’ve learned a lot about my various health issues…

And I’ve saved the most interesting (to me) example for last — it’s a recent conversation I had with Gemini where I could only vaguely describe the situation about which I was curious, but still Gemini came back with an illuminating answer, to wit:

Conversation with Gemini

This is what I wrote=Here’s a difficult one — when I exercise there’s a time I’m on the floor, and there’s a light on the ceiling, and if I not quite close my eyes (they are almost closed) and look slightly to the side of the light, I can bring in my vision what looks to me like the floaters and detritus within the eye itself. I theorize that I’m allowing enough light into my eye such that it lights up the interior orb, and I’m able to focus on the floaters etc. What do you think?

…and here’s Gemini’s reply:

You’re on the right track! What you’re seeing are indeed the floaters in your eye.

Here’s what’s happening:

· Floaters: These are tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous humor, the jelly-like substance that fills the back of your eye. As light passes through the vitreous, these floaters can cast shadows on the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer at the back of your eye.

· Light and positioning: By positioning yourself with the light source on the ceiling and your eyes almost closed while looking slightly off-center, you’re creating a couple of key conditions:

  • Reduced overall light: With your eyes nearly closed, less light enters your eye. This minimizes the light from the room interfering with seeing the faint shadows cast by the floaters.
  • Light scatter within the eye: The light that does enter your eye is at an angle and some of it scatters inside your eye, illuminating the vitreous humor enough for the floater shadows to become more noticeable.

So, you’re not actually lighting up the entire inner eye, but rather creating a scenario where the light scatters and illuminates the floaters more than usual, making them more visible.

Here are some additional points:

· This phenomenon is quite common. Many people notice floaters more when looking at a bright light against a dark background.

· Floaters are usually harmless and become more common with age. However, if you experience a sudden increase in floaters, especially accompanied by flashes of light, it’s important to see an eye doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.

Overall, your observation is a neat way to see the inner workings of your eye!

…Notice that it gently corrected my incorrect analysis of the effect! I’ll add that, as usual, I queried both sites, and the Bing site again failed the query (it just essentially explained what “floaters” are), however the Bing site has often provided better information than the Gemini site.

I’m aware there are pitfalls — such as so-called “AI hallucinations,” and misinformation generally, and that’s why it’s useful to query both sites instead of just one. I’m also aware that AI is problematic in that it often plagiarizes data, but I think the onward rush of AI is inevitable, so will use it where necessary.

I hope this info has been helpful. NEXT TIME: back to the cartoons!

jackcompere.medum.com

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