Enterprise hits and misses - Microsoft changes their spin on ChatGPT for search, while enterprise uses for Metaverse and generative AI get real

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed February 20, 2023
This week - Microsoft changes their positioning on ChatGPT for search. No surprises here - but the pursuit of enterprise use cases is worthwhile. Plus: time to revisit the enterprise Metaverse. Your whiffs include cheating on AI ethics exams - and data backups for Valentine's day.

King Checkmate

Lead story - Metaverse and AI use cases hit retail - will they pan out?

Readers know I'm not a good candidate for Metaverse fanboy of the year - nor do I appreciate the tech media cheerleading unproven AI use cases. 

So what is my take on two new retail scenarios? Start with Derek's L'Oréal CEO says the beauty giant is a ‘Unicornus Rex’ set for the Metaverse. What does L'Oréal have in mind? Derek:

On the partnership with Meta, L'Oréal announced that incubator will support at least five startups that specialize in 3D production, augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, avatar creation, portability in user experience, token economy or Rotherham topics related to the metaverse and Web3. Interestingly, it added that these startups don’t specifically have to be related to the beauty industry.

Derek details several Metaverse use cases L'Oréal is pursuing. This one jumped out:

And then L'Oréal’s partnership with Ready Play Me, a cross-game avatar platform for the metaverse, is already in full swing, as two of the Group’s leading brands - Maybelline New York and L'Oréal Professional - have launched makeup and hairstyles for avatar creation that can be used on more than 4,000 platforms and apps worldwide.

I'm a stickler for "Multiverse" over Metaverse, since there won't simply be one 3D community. But I've always felt that fashion was one of the strongest consumer Metaverse use cases - either to virtually try on new looks or, in this case, customize avatars. As Derek notes, L'Oréal is already turning in good corporate numbers, so this type of early-in investment makes sense.

I also see the potential for royalty streams based on paid in-game/in-character beauty enhancements. Where do I part ways with  L'Oréal's approach? The bothersome blurring of the lines between Metaverse, "Web3," and NFTs. If L'Oréal gets caught up in heavy NFT market investments tied to crypto, I don't think they'll have super-happy news to share on that later. But the Metaverse play itself makes sense. As for "A Unicorus Rex in the Metaverse," if that's a good rallying cry, I'll step aside.

Meanwhile, Stuart examines a very intriguing AI use case in Why Redbubble has designs on AI to improve the e-commerce content experience for customers. Essentially, Redbubble is using AI not to replace creators, but to make sure the best creations are properly filtered, tagged with data, and surfaced on its platform. Stuart quotes Redbubble:

We are most excited about the opportunity to step-change our understanding of artists' content through the use of AI. This will enable improvement in search and discovery across both marketplaces, both on and off-site, and solve a core, long-standing challenge of how to build an objective, accurate understanding of each piece of content available in the marketplace, so we can place the right design in front of the right consumer every time.

Though this scenario is not yet mature, this use of AI looks promising - sourcing a unique data set and solving the problem of tagging and discovery - at a scale humans simply couldn't. I believe Bing's use of ChatGPT will either be a disaster or an entertaining carnival sideshow, but that's because of the nature of the data set it's been trained, on versus its stated purpose (searching for verifiable/trusted info). However I like enterprise/community-specific search as an AI use case - this example shows why.

Stuart concludes:

While some siren voices will mutter about silver bullets here, this use of AI tech is an interesting real-world application that appears to fit a clear business/operational need. This is an initiative that’s going to be well worth keeping an eye on as the testing/learning phase moves into customer-facing delivery and, it is to be hoped, an uplift in metrics.

That uplift in metrics part cannot be overstated. We seem to be losing track of that criteria with AI lately.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

Earnings reports

  • Dropbox delivers growth, but records $162 million real estate loss - CEO cautious about the year ahead - Derek quotes Dropbox CEO Drew Houston: "We recognize that as our customers experienced challenges in their businesses, and evaluated their budgets, there's added pressure to reduce software spend. But we see an opportunity to mitigate some of this pressure through more high-touch account management for these customers."
  • Pega passes $1 billion in subscription revenue as it delivers strong Q4 - Derek puts Pega's subscription/earning news in context: "However, Trefler didn’t shy away from the fact that market conditions are tough and that there will be macroeconomic headwinds this year. That being said, Trefler argued that Pega is well positioned." Derek adds: "It’s worth adding that process optimization and low-code are front of mind for buyers, as they look for cost cutting opportunities to do more with less."

Enterprise earnings are currently tied to being able to provide a jugular, real world return for customers. However, even in those cases, a sense of belt-tightening pervades.

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Derek rings the warning bell on one of generative AI's most concerning downsides:  ChatGPT has the potential to spread misinformation ‘at unprecedented scale’ (going forward, we'll need to distinguish between regurgitated misinformation, intentional disinformation, and/or disputed information with baked-in or unintentional algorithmic bias). Chris turns his attention to the Multiverse, err, Metaverse - in the banking arena: Should we bank on the Metaverse? Chris: 

On the face of it, there may be a tension between what some customers want from a metaverse – freedom, anonymity, fun, and play – and what companies would need to provide, in the form of ID, authentication, safety, and security. Put another way: before we enter Wonderland, we will fall down a lot of rabbit holes.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

To which I say: 

Those who "win" with these new AI tools are going to need a very exacting standard of what works and what doesn't - so let's put down the AI pom poms and get to it, shall we?

Overworked businessman


Here's my security whiffs rule: if you get breached multiple times over years, I get to take a cheap shot:

So... cheating on an AI ethics exam with AI - is this what pundits call the "circular economy"?

Finally, I asked Brian Sommer if he tried out the "gift of backups" for Valentine's Day:

It looks like Brian wisely went in another direction:


If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

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