May 6, 2013 - Future    No Comments

Digital Personal Assistant

I love looking at the new apps for my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on the Google Play store.  One thing I keep looking at never seems to disappoint and that’s the plethora of apps calling themselves “Digital Personal Assistants.” (DPA)  Yet when one digs a little deeper it’s apparent that they only deliver a ridiculously small smudge of real functionality.

What I want is a true digital assistant that can intelligently respond to queries and anticipate my needs based on lifestyle.  For instance I want to be able to ask the phone a question such as “how far away is the moon” and have it answer.  If need be the application should filter through the various Google results and determine the real answer based on verified sources.  If I ask it a philosophical question, the application should regurgitate the best answers of great minds.

I understand what I want is on the verge of artificial intelligence (AI) but honestly aren’t we at a place in time where rudimentary AI should be common place even in hand held devices?

How about the ability to ask my phone to tell me the location of my children?  It would communicate/authenticate with a similar application on the child’s phones and report back their location.

How about voice programming?  Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the ability to dictate a simple if/then statement to the phone and have it program an alert or event based on that?  For example you might tell the DPA if one the kids get home before 5pm, remind them to water the plants.  The application would then package the code and send it over to the complimentary application on the child’s phone.

The same logic could apply to other requests, such as set temperature in house to 74 degrees until 4pm and thereafter set it to 72 degrees.  The application would then send the programming over to the home automation system.

That same home automation system would detect my wife’s car pulling into the garage and then tell me as much.  Or would simply log her status and if I ashed, would say she had arrived at home xx minutes ago and was on Facebook updating status.

The beauty of my idea is that it’s not just a single application but more of a digital neural network of handheld and household devices.

Wouldn’t it be mind blowing if you were grocery shopping and the DPA told you that the refrigerator wanted to remind us we needed milk?

Now venture over to the business side of life.  Say I’m on the phone and a call comes in.  My DPA answers the phone in the background and collects information about the caller.  If it is a new contact, it would ask me if I wanted to add them to contacts.  If it were say one of the kids, it could talk directly with them and answer basic questions via voice, like what time will Dad get home?  The DPA could then look at my calendar and based on my meetings and history of driving home, make an educated guess.  Once my call had ended then it would fill me in on all of the activity/questions it had fielded and give me the option to update the kids with my real arrival time.


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