“AI won’t take your job, but someone who knows how to use AI will”.
Once again we’re back with another quote of unknown origin. Since the last blog post so much has been happening in the AI space as the arms race heats up. If you read that one you’ll remember how excited I was for the recent release of Midjourney v4. It’s only been 2 months since that date and we already have Midjourney v5 released (!!) which is getting us one step closer to being able to consistently generate non-nightmare inducing hands.
Google, not wishing to be caught sleeping by Microsoft, released Bard, their own reply to Microsoft’s acquisition of OpenAI. OpenAI themselves released Chat GPT-4 whilst just about every other software company (Notion & Miro to name a few) suddenly turned around and also introduced integrated AI powered tools into their software.
Hand models in v4 (by u/Skronkler) versus hand models in v5 (by u/WhyTryAI) from the Midjourney subreddit
It’s been a real rollercoaster trying to keep up.
With all these new tools flooding the market it can feel like being a kid in a candy shop as we rush to integrate them into our day-to-day lives but get dazzled by the sheer number of options available. As such I wanted to write a piece on the four most interesting/useful tools that I’ve personally been using for the last few months.
But first, it’s important to be aware when using some of these tools to exercise caution and to ensure you don’t upload highly sensitive or identifiable information. While I don’t doubt the intentions of the creators of these tools, the OpenAI leaked technical glitch and subsequent scrutiny from Italian regulators regarding privacy concerns demonstrates the importance of playing it on the safe side as legislation and regulation plays catch up.
With that being said let’s kick things off with my personal favourite:
1. Chef GPT
Everytime I use ChefGPT I look back and think about how the university version of myself could have saved mountains of money if it was just released a few years back.
ChefGPT is an AI powered digital chef, which can create brilliant recipes out of any ingredients you have. All you need to do is tell the software what ingredients (and quantity) you have; what equipment you have access to; the time you have available; your skill level; and whether you would like to use all or some of the available ingredients in your meal. It’ll then spin out a perfect recipe for you to use.
It’s incredibly straightforward and a fantastic tool to help combat food waste as soon to expire ingredients finally find a home. I’ve been using it for the last month or so and anytime I find myself hesitating as to what to make for dinner I turn right to it.
See below for the feta tomato pasta with lardons that we cooked up last week 😋 .
The team over at ChefGPT have also been building out some great new features for paid users recently: Masterchef takes whatever meal you want to make along with any dietary requirements and provides you with a full recipe list; MacrosChef takes whatever remaining macros you have left for the day and generates a recipe to hit those goals; MealPlanChef creates weekly meal prep recipes for all types of fitness goals; While PairPerfect suggests the ideal wine or beer to go with whatever meal you create. If you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration or want to test your cooking skills but don’t know where to start I cannot recommend it enough.
Onto one which has saved me hours upon hours already, despite only using it quite recently. Arcwise is a Google Chrome extension that acts as a Chat GPT copilot on Google Sheets to help you understand, clean and ingest data. As mentioned earlier, due to its recency and to keep on the safe side I’ve ensured to only use it on non sensitive work pieces. But wow does it work!
The data scraper has been a game changer. Upon writing category headings and highlighting the boxes you want filling, click the Scrape Data option and select the Chrome tab you want to drag data from. A few seconds later and everything is automatically sorted for you. Any AI tool that reduces the amount of menial tasks in your day will always get my seal of approval.
However, that’s not all. You can go on to ask the AI questions about your spreadsheet to get a comprehensive rundown of all its contents. It can clean data automatically, infer the formula in a cell and even create formulas for you based on natural language prompts. As someone who last meaningfully used Microsoft Excel 8 years ago prior to starting at Future Arc, it’s not only been a great assistant for the basic translation tasks, but being able to see how my natural language prompts become translated to create formulas has provided me with an interactive teacher on the go!
As with all forms of generative AI, there will be some growing pains (i.e. hallucinations or data being extracted from the wrong sections if the webpage has an unorthodox set up). These tools should be used as an ideas and prompt backboard and any information provided should be double checked with either reputable sources or by cross referencing with the source you’re extracting from. (Last time I’ll caveat, promise)
I’m sure that you’ve experienced that moment where you’re scrolling through social media and the sight of someone soaking up some sun whilst you’re stuck indoors in the rain lights a spark to book your next holiday. However all you know is you just need a break and some sun, so what do you do? Enter Vacay’s various AI tools which can organise everything from top to bottom.
Its travel chatbot acts as a virtual travel agent. You begin by describing your budget, time constrictions and what you’d like from a destination and it maps suggestions to pair up with those limitations. Not sure what to do in your suggested country? Not to worry, that’s where the Itinerary Generator comes in, providing a comprehensive list of sights to take in as well as restaurant recommendations in the local area along with links to book anything requiring reservations.
There is also a Hotel Recommender as well as a Honeymoon Planner (maybe don’t tell your partner about the last one before using it!)
Currently in a limited closed beta, but due to be released as a paid product, Embra is a GPT-like assistant on your Mac that you can access with the click of a button. What makes this stand out from using Chat-GPT as you normally would is that Embra can interpret and provide analysis of your documents and Chrome tabs, requiring much less contextual prompt engineering and increasing speed/ease of access. For example, look at what it thinks about the Future Arc website!
While it’s currently limited to integration with Google Chrome there are currently community votes for the next application to be integrated as the team develops its features. Personally I’ve been using this almost as a fellow colleague to both bounce ideas off of and to ask for critical feedback on some notes I make.
As such I find that the most underrated and handy feature is the summarising and brainstorming feature. With its summariser it can break down the topics and key highlights on a document or page and then offers follow up questions you can click on to go more in depth. Meanwhile, the brainstorming feature follows from the summariser and can ideate questions about the topic to prompt further reading. It’s genius!
So there we have it, four of my favourite AI tools that I encourage all of you to try. Thanks for reading!