The Age of The Digital Assistant Has Come. Too Soon? Is It Ready?

Cortana Lego Person
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Microsoft announced their digital assistant, Cortana, on Wednesday. It looks like and sounds like Apple’s Siri.   While Microsoft has changed “What I can help you with?” to “Need Something?”. Google also has a digital assistant called Google Now.

I have used Siri off and on. More off than on. It seems like a toy than a workable product. Sometimes she understands me other times I am thinking she just gave up and is now ignoring me.

Google now seems more workable as it notifies you when you need information before you need it. Google Now is a responsible assistant. Siri needs activation to do something for you. Click and hold the iPhone home button and ask it for something. The voice recognition is not great. It needs more time to cook.

I want a digital assistant that would have two actions. One, I can ask it things I need to have done and it will do it. Two, it will know about me since it will have access to all my information on all my accounts and computers (including all mobile devices). The access I give to it given via an encrypted method. If the assistant runs into a problem I don’t want it leaking my information.  I would like the Cortona like assistant to create the information it gets while getting to know me kept in an encrypted area. What happens if the digital assistant becomes too intelligent and wants to become me. I would need a way to cut it off. That begs a question; How would you fire a digital assistant?

Are we ready for this? These Apple, Google and Microsoft are easing us into this very slowly. If we go too fast we would recoil about having a program having access to all our information. Taking privacy into account is a must.

In the future, where would these assistants live? I have given this some thought. Right now these entities live on your mobile device and on the provider’s servers. Eventually when network speed is not an issue I could see them swimming in the wakes of the global internet.  They could go from one network to another. That reminds of the movie Her. Unlike the movie I would not want it sentient. I would not want my assistant running off.

Photo credit: uubergeek / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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