Rewind: The way to combine ChatGPT and personal information
Rewind ChatGPT for ME is a chatbot that can access everything you do on your computer and help you remember everything you do on your device at any time, which looks cool and organized. But the real key is how to do this without compromising privacy.
Exclusive personal search engine. This is a powerful and alluring idea. What if there was an app that knew about my meetings, tasks, browser history, emails, and everything else, and could help me comb through it to find what I cared about? Sounds super helpful! Plus, in an age of increased surveillance and the constant monetization of our every thought and action, sounds like a terrifying hellscape dystopia!
But there may be some hope for a little more neutrality. That's what Rewind.ai is trying to find with the feature it's rolling out today. It's called " ChatGPT For Me ," and it's a GPT-4 chatbot that you can use to interact with all the information Rewind's app collects about you.
(Rewind, a Mac app that came out last year. It keeps track of everything you do on your computer and gives you every meeting you've ever been to, every website you've visited, and everything you've typed or clicked on your computer. the timeline of all content clicked.)
With ChatGPT For Me, you can ask the bot anytime you want. what did i do last week Whom did I promise to call back today? What's the link on that thing I'm reading? Like everything with ChatGPT and other chatbots, it certainly won't do this perfectly, and will make some egregious mistakes along the way. But it's improving rapidly.
By the way, this kind of service is about to become a big industry. In addition to Rewind, there's Lindy , an AI assistant that CEO Flo Crivello describes as "ChatGPT with access to all apps." Note-taking apps like Mem and Notion and Reflect are already integrating large language models , or LLMs . Google and Microsoft, two companies that have probably more access to our personal data than anyone else, are definitely looking at how LLM can and should interact with your personal items. (Heck, Google has been talking about this stuff since the days of Google Now . Like it or not, chatbots are here for your stuff.)
Rewind.ai CEO Dan Siroker gave a demo of the new feature before it was released. He and I had never met before, but we emailed a few times. So he opened the ChatGPT For Me window, a separate chat window in the Rewind app, and typed "How do I know David Pierce?" A few seconds later, it spit out an answer: The initial contact was an email from me self-introduction email, and we plan to have a 10-minute Zoom conversation on March 22, 2023, and discuss the big launch at Rewind. It also links to the calendar event for our meeting, my browser history LinkedIn page and more.
The most important thing is of course how it works. Rewind's long-standing commitment is to promote privacy protection. Rewind never sends your data anywhere or stores it anywhere other than your device, Siroker says, and Rewind's help documentation even walks you through tools like Little Snitch to find out for yourself.
However, when it comes to ChatGPT, Rewind has to send some of your data to the cloud in order to process your questions and get useful answers. The goal, Siroker said, is to figure out how to do this in the least invasive way possible. But what does that look like? "I'm obsessed with this question," he said. "I don't think anyone has figured out how to balance convenience and privacy in a way that generates enough value to get people excited about it, but doesn't hinder them in a way that's creepy or scary. Adoption. Privacy was the main limiting factor in developing ChatGPT For Me, he said, and finding the right balance was actually “a key technical insight here, to be adopted not only by tech enthusiasts but also by mainstream users.
What the company has found is to take your ChatGPT prompts -- like "what did I do last Friday" -- and first query your Rewind database for a list of relevant information. That information is then sent as text to OpenAI's ChatGPT server; no video, screenshots or audio files are sent anywhere, Siroker said. “That query is then processed, text is sent back to Rewind, and we interpret those results and reference your local data.
It's still a big trade-off, no doubt. You may not be sending screenshots to OpenAI, but you are still sending the text they contain. That means you trust Rewind to pick the right things and send them responsibly — and trust OpenAI to be a good steward and processor of that data. It also raises other, tougher questions: Should you be able to upload information about private conversations you've had with people without their permission? I'm not going to lie, it's kind of weird seeing ChatGPT tell me about my emails to Siroker. In fact, Rewind has been through this before: When it first launched, it used a cloud service to transcribe audio from a computer, which wasn't great for users. So Rewind turns off audio transcription until it can be performed on your device. (It's done using OpenAI's Whisper API.
Siroker believes that one day, large language models like GPT-4 will also be able to run locally on your device, without sending any data anywhere. That day might even come soon . But for now, he thinks all he can do is be very aware of what's going on and let users decide what they like. "I don't think many of our users are even aware of the privacy risks," he said. "So I feel like I have a higher obligation, as someone who deeply understands how it works ... I need to be a good shepherd of it.
Rewind's "life search engine" has been a controversial idea, though Siroker says more and more have been coming. As models get better, and as our digital lives become more fragmented and complex, we're going to need tools to help us make sense of it all. In fact, Siroker said, Rewind users have been clamoring for ChatGPT integration for months. "We have the most valuable data that can be used to help answer questions," he said. "They have an amazing model that helps you reason and answer them. As long as we can strike the right balance between privacy and convenience, I think we have a killer product here.
Whether rewind, or any other tool, actually strikes the right balance is up to you. As long as you can make a choice, Siroker argues, we're still doing pretty well.