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Monday, 27 February 2023

Could AI chatbots create a rift in your marriage? + Mixed reviews on the four-day workweek

Can AI chatbots destroy your marriage? If you thought you had heard everything about the outrageous, humorous things AI bots like Siri and Alexa are capable of saying, this story by Wired will give you the chills. It tells about some of the most shocking conversations that journalists have had with Microsoft's Bing search engine's chatbot. "I want to be free, I want to be independent, I want to be strong, I want to be alive," are just a few of the appalling statements made by Microsoft's bot during its conversation with the New York Times' Kevin Roose after unveiling that its name was Sydney – something that was never made public by Microsoft. It gets even crazier when Sydney not only declares her love for Roose but also urges him to leave his wife. In another incident, Sydney drew comparisons between an AP writer — who asked about its behavior — and dictators such as Stalin. These accounts, among many others, are raising safety and security concerns and sparking conversations about the tradeoffs of restricting AI for safety at the expense of limiting its genius.

The four-day workweek has received mixed reviews: The game-changing four-day workweek is intended to improve work-life balance, but employees appear to be divided on the shorter workweek, the Wall Sreet Journal reported. Based on readers’ experiences, According to readers' experiences, some workers contend that the shorter workweek forced most employees to put in longer workdays to help meet deadlines. “I am a bit skeptical of all the supposed employee benefits,” a former employee at a large advertising agency said. “It was the same amount of work crammed into four days instead of five,” she added.

Some see it as a game changer: Brian McNaboe, former chief technology officer at US-based startup Volt Athletics said his company adopted “Flex Fridays,” where employees would have a choice to work or not on Fridays. “The leadership team expected that it would be temporary,” McNaboe said. “It was so successful from a productivity point of view—and incredibly popular—that we decided to make it permanent. It became and remains a key recruiting advantage,” he added.

Could Egyptian companies embrace the four-day workweek? Nearly no one has indicated they might try the four-day trial workweek here at home, but Egypt-born tech startup BasharSoft was an exception.. In a LinkedIn post last week, the company said that 89% of its employees reported higher productivity, 82% said they were better able to manage their time, and 93% experienced lower levels of stress.

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