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Office Guardian Angel Worse Than Clippy 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-never-knew-how-good-you-had-it dept.
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.'"
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Office Guardian Angel Worse Than Clippy

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  • by Xpendable (1605485)
    ...an early April Fool's joke.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:29PM (#31695756)

    (User browsing some good porn.)

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

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

      by MRe_nl (306212) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:37PM (#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.

      • 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..."

      • and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized

        nowadays... even in darkness... don't think George had envisioned Infra-red LEDs as light sources for camera use and cameras that were quite so sensitive to infra-red...

    • (User searching the Web with Google.) Guardian Angel: "What would Ballmer think of what you're doing?"
    • 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.

    • The demonic version might sell: "Look at this website - you know you want to...."

    • (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.

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

        Just 3??? This isn't Sunday school you prude.

    • This is a guardian angel - it kicks in when you're exposed to gonorrhea, and you need all the help you can get on this one [slashdot.org].

  • April 1 (Score:4, Funny)

    by sdstuart (1125031) <.ten.gnipeno. .ta. .nehpets.> on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:30PM (#31695768) Homepage
    Well, I guess it is April 1 already in some parts of the world. Sigh. Time to turn the computer off for a day.
  • How ironic (Score:2, Informative)

    by twoears (1514043)
    In light of the story below, "Microsoft Claims Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy," I may not be the only one to find this funny.
  • Oh yeah -> Upside-down-ternet [ex-parrot.com]
  • Slashdot! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gudeldar (705128) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:35PM (#31695822)
    Slashdot: The only place where 4 year old patents are news!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Ironhandx (1762146)

      and twice in one day!

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 a

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:40PM (#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.

    • Re:Overblown much? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @10:33PM (#31696594)

      This isn't "Clippy 2.0".

      No, it's worse. Clippy's been weaponized.

    • by edsousa (1201831)
      Actually, you're the only one that got this somewhat right. It isn't Clippy 2.0. But it isn't fancy AI either.

      see this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambient_Assisted_Living [wikipedia.org]
    • 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 t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:45PM (#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.

  • by jgreco (1542031) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @08:45PM (#31695908)

    Please don't pull my wings off, Dave!

  • Like a manlier Fairy Godmother.

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

  • 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".
    • by dangitman (862676) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:09PM (#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.

      • Don't look at WP's article on Goatse, IIRC it has an image of the site (i.e. use lynx instead!).

      • just so you know...the links are fine, just went there. No pics
      • by bakes (87194)

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

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

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      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.

  • Need I say more?

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

      • by jonadab (583620)
        > How can anything be worse than emacs? Why bother trying to get worse?

        Apparently you haven't seen the news today. Microsoft announced a beta release of the new Visual Studio .NET, which has, among other things, pervasive Visual Basic scripting. The VB scripting engine is now so fundamental to VS.NET that the editing features are all implemented in VB (sort of like how the editing features in Emacs are implemented in lisp). It's also now more completely integrated with Exchange, SQL Server, IIS, and
  • I hope not (Score:5, Funny)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @09:01PM (#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!
  • 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

  • by selven (1556643)

    Patented in 2006

    I don't use Microsoft software so I'm 100% safe. Thanks, Microsoft!

  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • It appears you are trying to find Brazilian cake farts on bing, remember, the cake is a lie...
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by carlzum (832868) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @10:01PM (#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? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djh2400 (1362925)
    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

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @10:14PM (#31696468) Homepage

    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.

    • by rsborg (111459)

      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? :-)

  • 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.

    • 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

    • by Jedi Alec (258881)

      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 w

  • ATTN: MICROSOFT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lq_x_pl (822011) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:05PM (#31696832)
    We tend to find animated "helpers" annoying. Please stop.
    Yours,
    People
    • not quite as annoying as the "Unexpected Item In Bagging Area!!!" or "Please put the Item in the Bag!!!" is turning out to be...
  • by woboyle (1044168)
    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...
  • by Tetsujin (103070) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @11:53PM (#31697162) Homepage Journal

    Information: You are all going to die.

  • I misread this as "life-cockroach" but after reading TFA it seems I was right anyway!
  • this will stop others from trying to inflict a copy of this idea on us!
  • by pydev (1683904) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:11AM (#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.

    • by BeanThere (28381)

      MS seems to be steadily evolving into a patent troll.

      • They're more of a patent threat, I suspect.
      • by ultranova (717540)

        MS seems to be steadily evolving into a patent troll.

        It's simply another example of the tragedy of the commons: it's more profitable to let someone else pay for R&D and then hijack the profits through a patent, than pay for it yourself and run the risk of getting hit by this tactic.

        A software company led by a rational CEO who's trying to maximize shareholder value should pursue patent troll status.

  • I think I'll name him Bob.

    -

  • 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...

  • Or just another fine reason to continue my avoidance of M$ Office. Never owned a copy and never will.
    • There isn't a reason for most people to pay out the money for Office. Open Office will do fine for the vast majority of people. They should realise this and save some money.
  • Office Guardian Angel Worse Than Clippy

    The thing is not even out but we already know it will suck.
    Well, I guess that makes sense seeing how the iPad is not even out but we know it will rock.

    Such a joke.

  • by gx5000 (863863)
    >Checks the DateFinishes CoffeeReads TFA againShrugs

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA

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