How Generative AI Will Change the Way You Use the Web, From Search to Shopping
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How Generative AI Will Change the Way You Use the Web, From Search to Shopping

Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

By Sarah E. Needleman
Wed, Oct 18, 2023 9:41amGrey Clock 3 min

People seeking information online will increasingly go first to TikTok, ChatGPT and other applications powered by generative artificial intelligence, instead of using traditional search engines, said Michael Wolf, co-founder and chief executive of consulting firm Activate.

Today, about 13 million U.S. adults begin their web searches by using generative AI, Activate data show. Wolf predicts that will grow to more than 90 million by 2027 because generative AI is capable of providing results with far greater precision and customisation.

“Generative AI fundamentally changes the model for search because the results are no longer links,” said Wolf, who gave a presentation of Activate’s findings at The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference on Tuesday. “It serves up your information totally packaged and ready to use.”

Applications rife with customer data will benefit the most from this shift, Wolf said, as they will be better equipped to serve their users with personalised information. He expects TikTok to lead in this area because Activate estimates that its users already spend an average of more than 54 minutes a day on it, compared with 49 minutes daily on YouTube, 33 on Instagram and 31 on Facebook.

Amazon and other major e-commerce platforms have also embraced generative AI to better recommend products for users based on their past behaviour, along with many music- and video-streaming apps, Wolf said.

For example, Spotify earlier this year introduced AI DJ, a feature that offers a curated lineup of music alongside commentary around the tracks and artists that the app thinks users will like. “Choices are being made for you,” Wolf said.

Google and other search engines are also taking advantage of generative AI, yet Wolf said they might not remain the first stop or default option for most people. People are devoting more of their time to social media, entertainment platforms, online videogames and other utility apps that are also embracing the technology.

According to Wolf, domination within the $100 billion search industry is “up for grabs” and large, established companies aren’t necessarily going to outmuscle startups. The rise of open-source AI models is paving a pathway for smaller entrants to potentially make a big impact, he said.

Adoption of generative AI is being driven by a significant increase in the amount of time people spend online—behavior boosted by the pandemic, Activate data show. With people spending more time online, they are becoming adept at using multiple applications at once, enabling them to accomplish more in a single day than would otherwise be possible. Today, the average U.S. adult spends 13 hours daily multitasking among video, audio, games, social media and various technology and media activities.

“AI is making everybody into a metaverse creator,” Wolf said, referring to extensive online worlds where people interact via digital avatars.

Generative AI is poised to disrupt the internet in other ways besides search, such as content creation, Wolf said. By typing simple text prompts into applications featuring the technology, anyone—not just tech-savvy folks who know how to write code—will be able to make videogames, artwork, music and even entire virtual worlds on their own.

More predictions from Wolf’s presentation:

  • Nearly all U.S. households, more than 120 million, will be able to access the internet through their television sets by 2027. Whether people own a smart TV or have a device like Roku, the TV screen will play a bigger role than ever, driving subscriptions for streaming services and capturing valuable viewing data.
  • By 2027, the average video-streaming subscriber will have 5.8 subscriptions, up from 4.9 today. With many such applications now offering the option to see ads in exchange for lower monthly fees, Activate predicts ad revenues across the major video streaming services will grow 25% annually through 2027.
  • Spatial computing—the ability to interact with virtual imagery displayed without obstructing a user’s view of the real world—won’t be limited to pricey virtual- and augmented-reality headsets. The technology will be prevalent on almost any internet-connected device with a screen, from car navigation systems and kitchen appliances to digital door locks and mall kiosks.
  • Online sports betting will continue to grow and evolve. The activity became legal five years ago, and it is now available in 35 states. Activate forecasts that U.S. adults will collectively wager $186 billion annually by 2027, up from about $123 billion today. Another change: Sportsbooks today rely on extensive sign-up and referral bonuses to attract new customers, but going forward retention will be driven by improved betting options and user experiences.
  • While the average U.S. adult will spend 13 hours a day multitasking by 2027, the majority of the time will entail watching video, followed by listening to music, podcasts and other audio, and playing videogames. How consumers will spend this time with technology and media will differ across generations. For example, YouTube and other social-media platforms will become the top destinations for younger adults looking to discover new music, while those over the age of 35 will still rely on the radio.


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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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