Clippy has returned, thanks to the company Firecube and the rise of AI.
The rise of artificial intelligence technology has given way to a number of bizarre creations across the internet, with many consumers outside the tech world wondering just what practical applications these services have to offer. Now, a rogue developer has reanimated Microsoft’s former mascot, Clippit, best known by his nickname, Clippy, in the form of an AI program to assist and infuriate you with all your document and spreadsheet needs, according to a write-up in PCWorld.
The anthropomorphic paperclip mascot was first introduced in Microsoft Office 97 as a flashy but simple means to assist digital newcomers in understanding the basics of the Office suite layout.
While the arrival of the Clippy AI may serve as a rage-inducing nostalgia check for internet users of the late 90s and early 2000s, the digital assistant truly serves as little more than a front end for ChatGPT.
Developed by software engineers at Firecube, the former Microsoft mascot has not been approved by its original company, and is not available in any Microsoft Office Suite packages developed since 2001. Firecube has a long history of developing unique and challenging applications and AI plugins to rival official Microsoft products, including Mica, FlowPad, and Acrylic, which each serve as replacements for MS Paint.
The Clippy AI utilizes all the original tricks that made Clippy so endearing and/or infuriating to Microsoft users of decades ago. The trademark “Groucho” eyebrows as well as the twisted smirk wrought from the wide-eyed mascot’s twisting body continues to silently judge and insult early internet users’ nightmares with the tenacity of the giggling Duck Hunt dog.
The mascot, who sits atop a billowing magic carpet of lined sheet paper, can be stickied to the user’s desktop in order to inquire about your fundamental ability to grasp basic computing concepts and offer revised spellchecking for words you didn’t misspell in the first place.
Though this Clippy AI is not officially recognized by Microsoft in any capacity, it is not the first time the allegedly helpful paperclip has returned from the dead. After being phased out by the computer corporation in 2001, Clippy was resurrected in an official presentation in March of 2019 for only a single day.
While it remains unclear exactly why they took this stance, the so-called “Brand Police” of Microsoft took swift action against the use of Clippy in a number of sticker attachments which could be used to instant message other Microsoft users through Github, leaving users puzzled about the perceived lack of communication within the company.
While the program to utilize the new Clippy AI is being offered for free, it does require an API key in order to identify the user and link the application to your account directly. This could be a major turn-off for consumers, particularly due to the highly litigious brand police who wouldn’t allow the official Microsoft company to continue using their own mascot back in 2019.
Perhaps Clippy knows state secrets, nuclear codes, or locations of buried bodies, but one thing is for sure: Somebody very powerful wants this bug-eyed anthropomorphic paperclip dead and buried, and they’re willing to go to great lengths to see this execution carried out.