Today, so called ‘personal assistants’ aren’t PAs, and they aren’t personal.
First of all, you’d expect a PA to understand and remember some random, but important fact about yourself; like for example: “I don’t really like sushi”. You would expect your PA to remember this and to take it into account in future restaurant requests. You’d also expect your PA to be able to understand complex sentences and to hold an ongoing conversation with you.
The other, related aspect is the lack of ‘personal’. The word ‘personal’ has three important, distinct meanings:
- belongs to you
- customized to you
- intimate, private
Current AI assistants offered by the mega-corporations are programmed to serve their agenda, and are owned and controlled by them. You are the product, not the customer.
They have little or no personalization, and each company jealously guards knowledge about you in their walled garden, so that you have to separately inform each bot of necessary preferences and background information to complete a task — often having to repeat it many times.
You have little or no control over your data. In most cases you can’t specify what information can be shared with whom.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Technology exists to provide a much higher level of intelligence. Systems that can learn interactively, have short- and long-term memory, understand complex sentences, can reason, and hold ongoing contextual conversations.
No, technology isn’t anywhere near human-level cognition yet, but we can do a lot better than current chatbot approaches.
What we need is appropriate technology, as well as the right corporate philosophy. We need an organization dedicated to providing the most intelligent and personal experience possible —providing guaranteed individual ownership of your personalized assistant, including all related data. Promising that your data (and secrets) will not be sold or shared.
I look forward having a Personal personal assistant — I’ll think of it as my ExoCortex, an everyday personalized extension of my memory and cognition.