Technology

My Not-So-Perfect Holiday Shopping Excursion With A.I. Chatbots
Technology

My Not-So-Perfect Holiday Shopping Excursion With A.I. Chatbots

In addition to Shopify, chatbots have come out over the past 12 months from Instacart, the delivery company; Mercari, a resale platform; Carrefour, a retailer; and Kering, which owns Gucci and Balenciaga. Walmart, Mastercard and Signet Jewelers are also testing chatbots, which may become publicly available as soon as next year.“In a way, it’s recreating an in-store environment, but online,” said Carl Rivera, a vice president at Shopify who oversees its Shop app, which hosts Shop A.I. He said the chatbot broke down people’s questions into key terms and searched relevant products from Shopify’s millions of sellers. It then recommends products based on reviews and a shopper’s purchase history.Retailers have long used chatbots, but previous versions lacked conversational power and typically an...
Praxis Founder Dryden Brown’s Utopian Visions
Technology

Praxis Founder Dryden Brown’s Utopian Visions

Crisis as OpportunityIn Amsterdam, Mr. Brown described Praxis as his response to being trapped inside his apartment during Covid, mixed with his longstanding interest in colonial America. “Ready to join America in 1776?” reads a company pitch deck.In 2022, Mr. Brown had been more specific about his motivation to build a city from scratch, telling a speechwriter that he got the idea for Praxis after witnessing looters break shop windows in SoHo during the protests that followed the murder of George Floyd.(Mr. Brown gave detailed biographical information to the speechwriter, Webster Stone, during hours of recorded meetings in 2022, of which The New York Times has reviewed a transcript. In an email response to a detailed list of questions, Mr. Brown disputed several of his own statements to t...
Using A.I. to Talk to the Dead
Technology

Using A.I. to Talk to the Dead

Dr. Stephenie Lucas Oney is 75, but she still turns to her father for advice. How did he deal with racism, she wonders. How did he succeed when the odds were stacked against him?The answers are rooted in William Lucas’s experience as a Black man from Harlem who made his living as a police officer, F.B.I. agent and judge. But Dr. Oney doesn’t receive the guidance in person. Her father has been dead for more than a year.Instead, she listens to the answers, delivered in her father’s voice, on her phone through HereAfter AI, an app powered by artificial intelligence that generates responses based on hours of interviews conducted with him before he died in May 2022.His voice gives her comfort, but she said she created the profile more for her four children and eight grandchildren.“I want the ch...