I’ve been impatiently waiting for this one for quite some time now. Microsoft got the ball rolling on this concept with Clippy, the office assistant that proved to be more annoying than useful. More recently, Apple developed SIRI for its iPhone, an intelligent assistant that can respond to specific language cues and access the Internet. But this is nothing compared to what’ll be available two decades from now.
Looking ahead, we can expect our personal assistants to fully respond to natural language, including colloquialisms and our personal idiosyncrasies. And owing to ubiquitous computing (which we’ll look at next), our personal assistants will be accessible to us 24/7.
What’s more, these agents will exhibit an uncanny level of general intelligence. We’ll even be able to have conversations with them. They will know everything about us, including our behaviors, our tendencies, our preferences, and our typical ways of responding to certain situations. Accordingly, they’ll be our virtual clones. In essence, they’ll be our proxy selves, representing us on the Internet and in the real world by taking the form of telepresent holographic avatars. They’ll write emails for us, book appointments, perform menial thought tasks, and even anticipate our needs. Of course, we’ll still be responsible for the decisions they make on our behalf — so we’ll need to be careful about the degree of autonomy we give our mind clones.