Report: AI assistants and chatbots gain traction in the enterprise

Despite concerns over data privacy and immature technology, AI assistants and chatbots are gaining a foothold among businesses, according to a report from IT professional network Spiceworks.

The report, which surveyed 529 IT professionals from North America and Europe, showed that 29% of respondents have implemented one or more chatbots or intelligent assistants for work-related tasks, or plan to do so this year.

Adoption was higher for larger organizations, which have more resources to evaluate emerging technologies, with 24% using AI assistants or chatbots currently and 16% set to deploy the technology this year, for a total of 40%.

“A lot of businesses are starting to see how these technologies are useful, and because they are more widely available, we are seeing adoption increase,” said Peter Tsai, Spiceworks senior technology analyst and the author of the report. He added, however, that the technology is still “in its infancy.”

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3268075/digital-assistants/ai-assistants-and-chatbots-gain-traction-in-business.html#tk.rss_news

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Mozilla touts Firefox Reality, browser built for AR/VR

Mozilla on Tuesday announced that it is building a browser designed especially for displaying virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content, betting that the technology will become core to the internet.

“We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers,” asserted Sean White, Mozilla’s chief research and development officer, in an April 3 post to a company blog.

Firefox Reality, the moniker for the browser White laid out, was far from ready for end-user deployment, but was available Tuesday in developer builds, and because Mozilla is an open-source developer, so was Reality’s source code. There was no hint when the browser might be polished.

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3267891/web-browsers/mozilla-touts-firefox-reality-browser-built-for-ar-vr.html#tk.rss_news

Mozilla takes advantage of Facebook woes to trumpet isolationist Firefox add-on

In the midst of news that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress to answer questions about his company’s data collection and sharing practices, Mozilla has begun pushing a Firefox add-on to make it harder for the social network to track users once they leave its site.

“Facebook Container isolates your Facebook identity from the rest of your web activity,” Nick Nguyen, Mozilla’s product strategist, wrote in a Tuesday post to a company blog. “When you install it, you will continue to be able to use Facebook normally. Facebook can continue to deliver their service to you and send you advertising. The difference is that it will be much harder for Facebook to use your activity collected off Facebook to send you ads and other targeted messages [emphasis added].”

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3267124/web-browsers/mozilla-takes-advantage-of-facebook-woes-to-trumpet-isolationist-firefox-add-on.html#tk.rss_news

Apple event: New iPad with Apple Pencil, iWork, education apps

At Apple’s “Field Trip” event in Chicago, the company introduced an upgraded iPad, a much-improved iWork suite and a range of new educational apps and improvements designed to put the company back at the center of the education market.

Introducing the new iPad

While iOS 11.3 remains unavailable at time of writing, the three standout features of the new $329 ($299 to education customers) iPad are support for Apple Pencil, much faster A10 Fusion chip — the same chip as used inside those powerful iPad Pros — and the introduction of sensors designed to make the Apple tablet ARKit-compatible, opening the gates to a mass market for educational apps, such as Starry Night. These new iPads are available for pre-order today and will arrive in Apple retail stores later this week, the company said.

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3266648/mobile-wireless/apple-event-new-ipad-with-apple-pencil-iwork-education-apps.html#tk.rss_news

Firefox to ape Chrome and add anti-ad filter in 2018

Mozilla plans to follow Google by adding an ad filter to its Firefox browser this fall, the company noted in an open-to-all 2018 roadmap released last week.

“Over the next year or so, Firefox will take a stand against tracking, intrusive ads, and other dark patterns on the web by blocking the worst content and more clearly communicating the privacy and other protections the browser offers,” wrote Asa Dotzler, the Mozilla product manager in charge of the Firefox roadmap, in the online document.

Dotzler described the Firefox filtering – slated to show up before the end of the third quarter – only in the broadest strokes. The browser will filter “certain types of ads by default,” he said, adding that Mozilla is currently “researching [the] types of advertisements that should be blocked.”

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3266285/web-browsers/firefox-to-ape-chrome-and-add-anti-ad-filter-in-2018.html#tk.rss_news

Microsoft to finally retire Windows 10 1511 in two weeks

Microsoft in two weeks will finally retire a 2015 version of Windows 10, marking 29 months of support for the untitled feature upgrade, nearly as long a stretch as the time between the releases of Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Windows 10 1511 – Microsoft labels its feature upgrades in a yymm format – will receive a final set of security patches on April 10.

The retirement date had originally been slated for Oct. 10, 2017, but last November Microsoft extended it an additional six months, albeit only for commercial customers. “To help some early enterprise adopters that are still finishing their transition to Windows as a service, we will be providing a supplemental servicing package for Windows 10, version 1511, for an additional six months, until April 2018,” Michael Niehaus, at the time a director of product marketing for Windows, said in a 2017 post to a company blog.

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3265753/microsoft-windows/microsoft-to-finally-retire-windows-10-1511-in-two-weeks.html#tk.rss_news

Microsoft tries out new must-use-Edge ploy in Windows 10 preview

Microsoft will try a new way to push Windows 10 users into running Edge, forcing links opened from the Windows Mail app and its messages to display in the browser.

Normally, links embedded in messages retrieved by the Windows Mail app open in the default browser, which may be an Edge rival if the user has set one.

In the latest preview of Windows 10’s fall feature upgrade, currently known as 1809 in Microsoft’s yymm label format, Microsoft has mandated that Edge assume responsibilities for opening links within messages.

“We will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge, which provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices,” announced Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc, the Microsoft employees who most often speak for the Insider preview team, in a post to a company blog last week.

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from Computerworld News https://www.computerworld.com/article/3264428/web-browsers/microsoft-tries-out-new-must-use-edge-ploy-in-windows-10-preview.html#tk.rss_news