#036: Microsoft AI Recall Feature (Data & Privacy Considerations)

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Architecture Insights newsletter. Artificial intelligence for architects, landscape architects, and designers.

This week’s standout development is a new Microsoft laptop that continuously monitors both you and your screen around the clock.

This Week In AI

Microsoft AI

Microsoft unveiled significant updates with the introduction of Copilot+ PCs like the AI-enhanced Surface Pro and Surface Laptop.

The main point of these updates is the new 'Recall' feature in the laptops. Recall keeps track of everything on your screen all the time. This lets you can look back and see everything that has appeared on your screen, not just links. It also listens and watches you constantly.

The focus here is on the rising trend of substantial advancements in AI to develop AI agents.

Below we explore a theoretical outlook on how this may impact design professionals in their work and personal life.

Microsoft Paint for Sketching

Paint, a tool that's been around for a long time, is now better for quickly sketching design ideas.

When you "sketch" or "paint," it creates an image similar in quality to Midjourney or DALL-E. You can also describe your image with words, making a good mix of verbal and visual image creation.


Anthropic launched a prompt generator.

Anthropic Prompts

Some interesting ones include:

- Spreadsheet sorcerer (for creating spreadsheets)

- Corporate clairvoyant (Extract information from long corporate reports/proposals etc. into a single memo)

- Mindfulness mentor (mindfulness exercises and techniques for stress reduction.)

Microsoft Recall: Privacy Considerations

The Recall feature introduced by Microsoft this week captures screenshots of your screen every few seconds, encrypts them, and stores them, allowing you to search through your history for specific content with more than just links.

This feature is designed to help you find content you've seen before more easily, but some people are worried it could be misused or lead to data leaks.

For A + LA's, these updates have both good and bad points depending on how they are used.

Recall could offer benefits by allowing you to easily revisit and track changes and retrieve specific design elements from the past quickly.

Did you forget the website where you saw a product for your design? Recall can help you find it. Had a video call with a colleague and forgot some details? Recall can help you remember.

Concerns & Considerations

However, the same professionals might be wary of using the feature due to the risk of exposing confidential client information and proprietary designs.

The potential for unauthorized access to sensitive project data could deter design professionals from embracing this technology.

Also, taking screenshots all the time might slow down the computer, making it harder for architects to use work tools like CAD and rendering software.

Many companies developing AI explicitly say that you should not use sensitive data when using AI as it could be used to train other models.

While these companies won’t outright share your data it still becomes an ethical concern when you share important client and project data.

To address these worries, Microsoft has made Recall an optional feature that is turned off by default. This way you can decide if they want to use it.

Microsoft also promised to improve data security, like adding proper encryption for saved screenshots.

Still, architects working on very sensitive projects might prefer to keep Recall turned off to avoid any risks to their confidential work.

AI Image of the week

Thank you for reading this week’s issue, check past issues here. Share this newsletter with colleagues, friends, or anyone interested in the combined world of architecture and artificial intelligence.

Did you enjoy this week's post?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.