While I was out on the Great Plains chasing storms, I apparently missed Microsoft’s announcement of their latest ventures. While I don’t have a lot of Microsoft in my life, outside of work where it’s mandatory, I still like to keep tabs on what’s going on with the company. And of course, since it’s 2024 and everyone has discovered that cryptocurrency isn’t what it was cracked up to be, Microsoft is joining the chorus of screamers going all in on “A.I.”. They’re doing this with their new line of PCs, called Microsoft Copilot+PC, and a new feature to Windows 11 called “Microsoft Recall”.

First of all, I don’t really need to meet the marketing genius that came up with the term “Copilot+PC”. Talk about unsexy and clunky. But whatever, it’s Microsoft, not Apple coming out with this new line of computers so my expectations are lower.

But let’s talk about Microsoft Recall. As I understand it, Microsoft Recall is a nifty new feature in Windows 11 that will take a screenshot of whatever you’re doing every three seconds and throw it into a database on your device and keep it there for three months. Looking at the news? Captured. Look at photos of your last vacation? Snapped. Look at porn? Gotcha. Look at your bank statement? Grabbed. It’s all there in the new Microsoft Recall database that lives on your computer so that Copilot, Microsoft’s version of “A.I.”, can go back and tell you where you stored your photo since you can’t remember where you stored it.

First of all, if you don’t know where you’re storing things on your computer, and secondly, if the existing Microsoft search can’t find it, perhaps you need to reexamine your computer use methods. A good chunk of the people I know using Microsoft products tend to just throw everything on the desktop anyway, so if it’s not there it’s probably not important.

Can we talk about what a privacy nightmare Microsoft Recall can pan out to be? Yes, the database is stored locally on your computer and for all intents and purposes, your data on your computer should be encrypted. Windows 11 offers this right out of the gate. But imagine if someone grabbed your P@ssw0rd! Not only do they now have access to the here and now, they also have access to screen shots grabbed every three seconds for the past three months.

What the heck.

Now, not to be too shiny in my tin-foil hat, but Microsoft isn’t exactly know for their strong privacy practices. Microsoft is rapidly introducing ads of all persuasions into their products, and how long will it be before the magic “A.I.” takes a gander at those every-three-seconds-for-the-past-three-months screenshots and determines what’s your likes, dislikes, etc. are and starts fashioning ads after those tastes? I keep thinking back to an old podcast featuring a prominent tech guru of the time (we’ll call her Gina Patrani), where the speaker was touting the wonders of the just released Gmail. “I don’t mind a few ads based on keywords from my email if it let’s me have this fantastic new email service for free.”

What that little approach turned Google, heck the entire tech sector, into today is a whole ‘nuther ball of chaos we’ll discuss when I’ve had a few drinks at breakfast.

There is no way that Microsoft is going to let that gold mine of three months of data just sit on your computer and not get mined for the revenue generation potential it promises. Corporations don’t work that way and with every corporation shimmying and needling every scrap of user data possible to turn it into a revenue stream, anyone with any sort of understanding on how the world works will agree with me.

I can’t imagine how this new feature, one that you must opt out of because it’s on by default, will be received by lawyers and doctors and bankers and stock brokers and the like. As mentioned earlier, my workplace has an unnatural love for all things Microsoft, but I can’t imagine a screenshot every three seconds and stored for every three months would be received well when it comes to the company’s proprietary secrets. Though, admittedly, I bet the folks that monitor employee productivity will find it a hoot and a half; it’s one less thing they have to install to monitor the my computer.

I’ve been using computers for a very long time. I’ve been writing software for a very long time. I’ve been online in some fashion for nearly 40 years. In the interest of your personal technological safety, run, do not walk as far away from these new PCs as possible. Breathe as much life out of your existing equipment, switch to something else (Linux, Apple, etc), or hope with the rest of the world that this idiocy does not see the light of day.

And as a quick side note, no government, and especially no government in the U.S., is going to step in to stop these sort of advancements from happening. There’s way too much lobbying and other ways for elected officials to benefit from these sorts of “A.I.” ventures.

I have been clamoring for years for our technology to be moving forward again. Trust me, this ain’t it.