Should You Put Your Virtual Assistants In Your Will?

The virtual assistants we use with our smartphones, like Apple's Siri or Google's Now or Microsoft's Cortana, will soon know so much about us that should write them into our wills. This according to Chris Brauer, co-director of CAST at Goldsmiths, University of London, who spoke at the Re.Work Technology Summit in London last month.

While the proto-VAs of today, such as Apple’s Siri, tie the user into one predecided range of services, these future versions will be modular, enabling users to tailor them exactly to their needs using tools developed by a wide variety of organisations.

They will be able to use a mix of tools including emotional recognition systems, natural language recognition and beacon technology to do everything from keep on top of your health to manage your finances.

The result will be a VA that knows you intimately, and which may even use algorithmic discretion to make decisions for you.

“In theory the virtual assistant becomes something that knows you better than you know yourself,” said Brauer, adding that the first VAs would appear 4-5 years from now.

Many people are unaware that these same ideas were first explored in science fiction decades ago. In his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise. Arthur C. Clarke described the personal interest profile that could be used to gather all relevant items of information from news feeds.

But the same technology that had eliminated one set of tasks had created even more demanding successors. Of these, perhaps the most important was the design of the Personal Interest Profile.

Most men updated their PIP on New Year's Day, or their birthday. Morgan's list contained fifty items; he had heard of people with hundreds. They must spend all their waking hours battling with the flood of information.

Via Factor-Tech.

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