Monday, December 17, 2007

Microsoft and intelligent agents on the desktop

John Markoff quotes Microsoft Chief Research Officer Craig Mundie on the opportunity multicore processors on our desktop creates for AI and personalized software agents:
In the future, Mr. Mundie said, parallel software will take on tasks that make the computer increasingly act as an intelligent personal assistant.

"My machine overnight could process my in-box, analyze which ones were probably the most important, but it could go a step further," he said. "It could interpret some of them, it could look at whether I've ever corresponded with these people, it could determine the semantic context, it could draft three possible replies. And when I came in in the morning, it would say, hey, I looked at these messages, these are the ones you probably care about, you probably want to do this for these guys, and just click yes and I'll finish the appointment."
Craig had more extensive thoughts at the July 2007 Microsoft Analyst meeting on personalized assistants running on your desktop PC.

2 comments:

matthewhurst said...

There is something a little weird here: overnight for processing an inbox? Let's say you had 100 messages, what could it be doing that would take 5-10 hours to process to help you the next day? The problem (at least as I see it) is not an issue of crunching, but an issue of algorithms: smart algorithms. The whole AI-is-data-crunching approach is misleading.

Travis Jensen said...

For years, I've been hearing about "Intelligent Agents" that will save our collective brain power by searching the "Semantic Web" and only showing us what is important to us.

There is nothing special about parallel processing in this context. The problem is that the data is not understandable and the cost of putting structure behind that data to make it understandable is just too high.

The Semantic Web looks great in the Ivory Tower, but in the real world, it is a long way off.