Cortana, Your Personal Assistant

Microsoft's new AI is Cortana, and it wants to be your personal assistant.


(Cortana wants to get to know you. Really get to know you.)

It seems odd to refer to smartphone software as a "she," but that human element is exactly what Microsoft is after with its new Windows Phone digital assistant. Cortana, named after her fictional counterpart in the video game series Halo, takes notes, dictates messages and offers up calendar alerts and reminders.

But her real standout characteristic, and the one Microsoft's betting heavily on, is the ability to strike up casual conversations with users; what Microsoft calls "chitchat." Next to Apple's Siri, Cortana is the only other smartphone assistant to come with a baked-in personality. And it's hard not to see the parallels between Cortana and the affable, Scarlett Johansson-voiced AI in Spike Jonze's film Her.

Confident, caring, competent, loyal; helpful, but not bossy: These are just some of the words Susan Hendrich, the project manager in charge of overseeing Cortana's personality, used to describe the program's most significant character traits. "She's eager to learn and can be downright funny, peppering her answers with banter or a comeback," Hendrich said. "She seeks familiarity, but her job is to be a personal assistant."

Fans of Frederik Pohl of course recognize that amazing Joymaker, the networked personal device from his prophetic 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot. Microsoft engineers are dreaming that you might have an interaction like this with your Microsoft phone - and Cortana:

"Gripes," he said, "tell me something. What would you do, right now, if you were me?"

The joymaker answered without hesitation, as though that sort of question were coming up every day. "If I were you, Man Forrester, which is to say, if I were human, just unfrozen, without accommodations, lacking major social contacts, unemployed, unskilledó"

"That's the picture, all right," Forrester agreed. "So answer the question." Something was crawling underfoot. He stepped aside, out of its way, a glittering metal thing.

"I would go to a tea shop, Man Forrester. I would then read my orientation book while enjoying a light meal. I would then think things over. I would thenó"

"That's far enough."

The metal thing, apparently espying Forrester's discarded cigarette pack, scuttled over to it and gobbled it down. Forrester watched it for a second, then nodded.

"You've got some good ideas, machine," he said. "Take me to a tea shop!"

See the very nicely done article at Engadget.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/6/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Artificial Intelligence ")

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

MIT Boffins Create Psychopath AI On Purpose
There's a lesson in this for neural net AI engineers everywhere.

China Uses Artificial Intelligence To Grade Student Papers
Looks like the City Fathers are starting to take over China's education system.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.