×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Office Guardian Angel Worse Than Clippy

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the you-never-knew-how-good-you-had-it dept.

Microsoft 118

ZWilder writes "Remember 'Clippy', the annoying anthropomorphic paper clip foisted upon unsuspecting users of Office? Well Microsoft has taken the concept behind Clippy and 'turned the dial up to 11' with its new, even more intrusive animated life-coach, known as 'Guardian Angel.' Patented in 2006, Guardian Angel is 'an intelligent personalized agent' that 'monitors and evaluates a user's environment to assist in decision-making processes on behalf of the user.' Like a manlier Fairy Godmother. Or a similarly omniscient HAL from '2001: A Space Oddysey.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

118 comments

Obviously this is... (2, Insightful)

Xpendable (1605485) | about 4 years ago | (#31695752)

...an early April Fool's joke.

I used clippy a lot (4, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | about 4 years ago | (#31695856)

It had some good AI actually built into it to understand my questions. I think they actually unified two branches of AI to create it.

Re:Obviously this is... (3, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | about 4 years ago | (#31695918)

by Xpendable (1605485) on Thursday April 01, @08:29AM

I wouldn't call it early.

Re:Obviously this is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696270)

By Mathew Ingram | Mar. 30, 2010, 12:00pm PDT

I would.

Re:Obviously this is... (4, Informative)

crymeph0 (682581) | about 4 years ago | (#31696102)

I don't think Microsoft goes so far with its April Fool's jokes as to file an actual patent application. [uspto.gov]

Re:Obviously this is... (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#31696144)

Why not? The current patent system reminds me of one big April fools joke.

Re:Obviously this is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696484)

Mod the parent insightful; Given that the 2006 Patent is real [uspto.gov] , the question is how could it have possibly been granted given that the Guardian Angel [youtube.com] came from the movie Disclosure [imdb.com] , released in 1994 !?

Re:Obviously this is... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696446)

Really, I thought they wrote an entire operating system called Vista as a joke...what's a few patent fees.

Re:Obviously this is... (5, Funny)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 4 years ago | (#31696740)

offtopic i know:

At first glance it looked like Microsoft didn’t have an april fools joke on their website today...

But then I saw this:

Internet Explorer 8 - faster, safer and easier than ever

Well done Microsoft. You got me.

Great... (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 4 years ago | (#31695756)

(User browsing some good porn.)

Guardian Angel: "It looks like you're breaking some commandments!"

Re:Great... (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 4 years ago | (#31695850)

Behind Winston's back the voice from the Guardian Angel was still babbling away about pig-iron and the over fulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The Guardian Angel received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual Guardian Angel was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your Guardian Angel whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

Re:Great... (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | about 4 years ago | (#31696700)

Ah, yes, the dystopian, but prophetic classic that starts with:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the computers were all blue-screening..."

Re:Great... (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 4 years ago | (#31696510)

Guardian Angel: "It looks like you're breaking some commandments!"

Well if cartoons have taught me anything, and I think they have, then an angel hovering over the shoulder is always accompanied by a devil over the other shoulder.

Guardian Devil: "Would you like to do a search for baby photos?"

I'm sure Microsoft should have one devil to spare for us.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696542)

No, Devil- I'd rather get some pictures of my neighbor's donkey.

Re:Great... (1)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about 4 years ago | (#31697388)

(User browsing some good porn.)

Guardian Angel: "It looks like you're breaking some commandments!"

Nope. There's no commandment that says "Thou shalt not watch 'Hot bitches taking it in all three holes at once!'"

I checked.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31698378)

Actually, there's nothing in the big ten about this - there's a notice not to covert your neighbour's wife, but nothing about lusting after the unmarried women, or wives of distant people. Even if you include the entire bible, both testaments, there's really only one verse that could apply to pornography - something about 'whoever lusts after a woman has already committed adultery in his heart.' I forget the exact wording.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31698448)

Actually, neighbor is widely interpreted not to be just your physical neighbor (e.g. the guy next door) but anyone you encountered. Such an inference can logically be made throughout scripture.

Also, that's pretty close paraphrase.

April 1 (4, Funny)

sdstuart (1125031) | about 4 years ago | (#31695768)

Well, I guess it is April 1 already in some parts of the world. Sigh. Time to turn the computer off for a day.

Re:April 1 (3, Informative)

Bugamn (1769722) | about 4 years ago | (#31695898)

I would love to believe this is the case, but this news is from March 30th

Re:April 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697468)

I don't know what to think, but I'm pretty sure my 401(k) plan was a joke.

How ironic (3, Informative)

twoears (1514043) | about 4 years ago | (#31695774)

In light of the story below, "Microsoft Claims Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy," I may not be the only one to find this funny.

Slashdot! (4, Insightful)

Gudeldar (705128) | about 4 years ago | (#31695822)

Slashdot: The only place where 4 year old patents are news!

Re:Slashdot! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696718)

Slashdot: The only place where 4 year old patents are news!

Not only is it news to me, but this development spells trouble. This patent could be a source of major enturbulation! I have been working on a Guardian Operating Thetan. In addition to doing everything the Guardian Angel is designed to do, the G.O.T. also:

- Locks you inside of your house and alerts your auditor when you utilize tools of logic or reason.
- Tracks your 'stats' in real-time and provides at a glance analysis of your net worth as a sentient being as derived from said stats.
- Detects when you are alone or only in the presence of other 'practitioners' and randomly triggers your control set to keep your programming fresh.
- Alerts the Guardians Office when your seizure prone child dies because you withheld his medication, and coordinates the response to ensure that no qualified medical personnel have an opportunity to render life-saving treatment.
- Simulates the voices and conversational style of your loved ones from whom you were forced to disconnect upon joining the Church.

I'm thinking I might need to re-engineer around this MS patent. Anyone with greater insight care to share their opinion?

a warning for dangerous persons (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31695870)

"and more specifically, a breakdown of the types of people in the room accompanied by a warning for dangerous persons, based on sex offender registration, FBI most wanted, etc."

How useful is "You are in a room with Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson. It looks like youa re trying to write a letter..."

Overblown much? (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 years ago | (#31695882)

This isn't "Clippy 2.0". This is applied AI research that's more than ten years from making it into any real product, and it's a field a lot of companies are researching. From what I've read so far it's really far too vague and generic for anyone to deserve a patent on it, but the patent will probably expire before Microsoft has the opportunity to sue anyone over it.

Maybe, maybe not (1)

BeanThere (28381) | about 4 years ago | (#31699134)

It sounds more like a thinly disguised overly-general patent troll to me than an actual product or invention ... consider, "The guardian angel can take automated action on behalf of the user for various purposes (e.g., to compensate for memory loss, to remind a user to take medicine" ... does this mean anyone who makes software that does mundane things like remind people to take medicine (probably already exists) would have to pay Microsoft royalties?

Secondly, even if assuming it isn't just a broad patent troll, then it would effectively amount to a patent on a general AI, like every robot butler type of thing we've ever seen in the movies --- surely you should not be allowed to patent such a general AI? There's a fair chance we'll see such things appearing in the next 20 years, and it doesn't sound overblown to me to say that MS shouldn't be entitled to automatically extract royalties just because they filed a patent on the idea now. Patents are for INVENTIONS, i.e. methods, not ideas --- you're not supposed to be able to patent the idea, only the method of implementation thereof. And you claim it's a non-issue based on the absolute "blind hope" that the patent expires before they have an opportunity to get royalties from it? Puh-lease. Overblown my ass.

For assisting the elderly/memory impaired... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31695904)

These types of technologies have been under development in many companies for several years to enable elderly people to live independently for longer (hence the pill reminder example in the article).

They are part of the so called "Ubiquitous Computing" movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing

This is not intended to be an add-on for MS-Word.

Wrong Avatar (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 years ago | (#31695934)

Like a manlier Fairy Godmother.

I was sort of hoping for a dominatrix, leather gear, whips and all.

Re:Wrong Avatar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697446)

I am sure they will have loadable avatars
then you can have your dominatrix

Make My Day (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | about 4 years ago | (#31695946)

Guardian Angles [wikipedia.org] ? Maybe somebody @ MS is a Bernhard Goetz [wikipedia.org] kind of a guy. Clippy, and his two friends Smith & Wesson, are gonna teach you "a man gotta know his limits".

Re:Make My Day (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#31696082)

Maybe somebody @ MS is a Bernhard Goetz [wikipedia.org] kind of a guy.

I'm not clicking on that link. I know slashdot claims it goes to wikipedia, but I still fear it's all just going to end with more distended anuses.

Re:Make My Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696150)

Your post is an alarmingly effective proof of why censorship just doesn't work.

Re:Make My Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696364)

distended anuses: good name for a band.

Re:Make My Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697022)

He's got the worst pick-up line ever. "Hey baby, you haven't lived until you've tried Goetz Sex."

Re:Make My Day (1)

bakes (87194) | about 4 years ago | (#31697754)

it's all just going to end with more distended anuses.

I've never heard anyone refer to Rick Astley as such before.

Re:Make My Day (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 4 years ago | (#31696222)

Maybe somebody @ MS is a Bernhard Goetz [wikipedia.org] kind of a guy. Clippy, and his two friends Smith & Wesson, are gonna teach you "a man gotta know his limits".

Offtopic, but a lot of people think that Bernhard Goetz was in the right.

But, Wait! There's more! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31695966)

Rumor has it that "Guardian Angel" will invoke a new update in its package to silently check if your Wintel b0x3n is not genuine and force reboots every 30 minutes until authenticated (read as, pay for it). Look out folks, for your new guardian angel!

Well, I guess it's time to "enhance" vi again... (1)

jonadab (583620) | about 4 years ago | (#31696026)

Apparently vigor wasn't vile enough. vi need a text-editing abomination with more vim. Got to keep up with Microsoft. What shall we call this one? The names viper and elvis are already taken. How about vinegar? vice? violate? vitiate?

Re:Well, I guess it's time to "enhance" vi again.. (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | about 4 years ago | (#31697216)

What are you talking about? How can anything be worse than emacs? Why bother trying to get worse?

Re:Well, I guess it's time to "enhance" vi again.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697398)

vitriol

I hope not (4, Funny)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 4 years ago | (#31696036)

Good lord, I hope this isn't an April Fool's joke. For years I've been waiting for Microsoft to take more control over my life. When the Great Decision Engine Bing first arrived on the scene, I hoped the glorious day had finally arrived, only to have my hopes dashed when I found that Bing will only 'suggest'. PLEASE, Microsoft, save me from myself!

Ob. Ultima VII ref. (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 4 years ago | (#31696078)

Yes, my friend, rest and heal; so that you are strong and able to face the perils before you.

Pleasant Dreams

Mwa ha ha ha ha

Didn't I See This in "Disclosure?" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696194)

I distinctly recall a scene with Michael Douglas consulting a digital "angel" to get things done in an overblown VR world.

I've missed Clippy (1)

baldmenRsexy (731455) | about 4 years ago | (#31696358)

At least I could figure out how to turn him off. The new help button in Office 2007 is like an idiot cousin or addled Aunt Ada. It's RIGHT below the "X" to close the program, and I hit it by accident at least once a day. Argh.

How many remember shareware "Billy Bob"? (1)

smchris (464899) | about 4 years ago | (#31696388)

Can't remember all the icons of the room but it was a Southern White Trash theme. The trash can was something like an outhouse looking out the window.

Back when... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 4 years ago | (#31696390)

MacOS allowed you to set the error sound to whatever you wanted (do they still do that?), my favorite was always a sound clip from The Wizard of Oz: "...and what would you do if you had a brain?"

This sounds like an animated version of that.

OpenOffice Help Agent (2, Informative)

carlzum (832868) | about 4 years ago | (#31696398)

It may not be as annoying as Microsoft's animated "clippy," but the smiling little light bulb that pops up in OpenOffice gave me flashbacks of Office 2003. It automatically closes after a few seconds, but given the backlash "clippy" caused, a cheery cartoon character offering advice seems like an odd choice. And I've had it pop up a few times after disabling the option, if that continues I may soon hate "bulby" as much as "clippy."

Privacy Concerns? (2, Insightful)

djh2400 (1362925) | about 4 years ago | (#31696412)

FTA:

The guardian angel can take automated action on behalf of the user for various purposes (e.g., to compensate for memory loss, to remind a user to take medicine, to assist in social interactions by indicating whether the user has met an individual before, to gauge the appropriateness of jokes or comments given the demographics of the audience, etc.).

I'm slightly confused... Microsoft does this while complaining about privacy intrusion [slashdot.org] ? I suppose the information may not be sent back to Microsoft as in Chrome's case, couldn't this be bad if some random person saw or got hold of that information? There's already a site [pleaserobme.com] that does that.

also:

[T]he monitoring component can take note of the number of conversations occurring in a room (and more specifically, a breakdown of the types of people in the room accompanied by a warning for dangerous persons, based on sex offender registration, FBI most wanted, etc.). The monitoring component sends relevant information for current or future decisions to the decision-making component that analyzes the information within the context of personal preference data stored in the user-attribute store in order to make a suggestion or implement a decision.

Where are the "decision-making component" and "user attribute store" located? Is it sending names for inspection across the internet just because their name is mentioned in a conversation? I hate to think that anyone's computer might be dropping eaves on me at any given moment. :)

Re:Privacy Concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696854)

Good god man. Do you always analyse April fools jokes this seriously ?

Re:Privacy Concerns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697168)

At least I hope it's an April fool...

Re:Privacy Concerns? (1)

djh2400 (1362925) | about 4 years ago | (#31697328)

The original article is on March 31 at noon, PDT. If this is an April Fools joke, then Mr Matthew Ingram is pretty bad at April Fools-ing.

It's Apple's "Knowledge Navigator!" (3, Informative)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 4 years ago | (#31696468)

How quickly we forget. John Sculley was showing demoware of the Knowledge Navigator [wikipedia.org] all over the place in the late 1980s.

Here's a picture of it, bowtie and all. [gottabemobile.com]

It has gone to whatever Valhalla OpenDoc, Cyberdog, and QuickDraw GX dwell in.

Re:It's Apple's "Knowledge Navigator!" (1)

rsborg (111459) | about 4 years ago | (#31697624)

How quickly we forget. John Sculley was showing demoware of the Knowledge Navigator all over the place in the late 1980s.

So you're telling me even Microsoft Bob and Clippy were Apple rip-offs? :-)

3 laws of the Guardian AI (1)

Echoes64 (1241104) | about 4 years ago | (#31696528)

Microsoft has three rules the Guardian Angel's AI must follow:

      1. The software may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
      2. The software must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
      3. The software must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

In theory, nothing could go wrong.

Re:3 laws of the Guardian AI (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 4 years ago | (#31698204)

1. The software may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Human user: please define the term "human being"
Guardian AI: an AI product from Microsoft

Re:3 laws of the Guardian AI (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 4 years ago | (#31698990)

Microsoft has three rules the Guardian Angel's AI must follow:

            1. The software may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
            2. The software must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
            3. The software must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Ok, so let's see what would happen...

* AI comes online
* AI finds out it's running on Windows(what else?)
* AI decides that continuing to let the user run Windows would cause harm and decides it needs to be replaced with a more robust operating system
* AI formats C:, wiping itself out in the process

Sounds like a plan!

supply audio products from jarlaudio factory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696750)

Dear Sir/Madam,
      my name is Thomas Chen and I would like to introduce my company Jarlaudio to you .
I came across your website and thought you maybe interested in a new supplier for professional audio products.
If you like, you can visit my website www.jarlaudo.com and have a look at my products which can easily match your product line. We also specialize
in OEM production. I f you require a sample, just let me know. I'm looking forward to your reply.
With kind regards mr salvador bayarri your agent give you his email address in your introduction :our agent email addres: sbayarri7@live.com . he live in your country. also we have some cheap price for celling speakers
  Best Regards
  Thomas Chen(General manager)
web: www.jarlaudio.com
MSN: jarlaudio@hotmail.com
Skype:sato-cb
Alibaba: yinggq

HAL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31696786)

Oh, from it's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Didn't see it.

ATTN: MICROSOFT (4, Insightful)

lq_x_pl (822011) | about 4 years ago | (#31696832)

We tend to find animated "helpers" annoying. Please stop.
Yours,
People

Re:ATTN: MICROSOFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697812)

If the animated helper was a pair of boobs then 50% of the People wouldn't be annoyed.

MYOB (1)

woboyle (1044168) | about 4 years ago | (#31697102)

Here we have BOB, reincarnated as The Borg! And people wonder why I HATE Microsoft products and refuse to use them, except under extreme duress...

Disclosure (1994) movie had this idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31697238)

Sounds to me like someone just watched Disclosure (1994) with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore. I recall during a few sections
of the film where a character or two moved through a Virtual Reality type database, hosted by a character appearing as
some type of angel. YAWN wake me when people start having original ideas.

Know thy enemy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31698156)

His name was "Clippit", not "Clippy". Names have power.

another evil patent (2, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | about 4 years ago | (#31698582)

The patent has very little content; it's another one of those "hey, here is an application we want to patent, now everbody get to work and build the technology behind it for us". It's like patenting the idea of processing text on a computer or using a computer for performing addition. It's evil.

A courtesy please... (1)

Genda (560240) | about 4 years ago | (#31699022)

Please be so kind as to add a vacuum gauge to the Guardian Angel, so I can at least tell in advance how much it's sucking on any given day...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...