Wake Me When My Digital Assistant Develops Empathy

Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are interesting as far as digital assistants go. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and each have their quirks and learning curves. Each of the digital assistants do seem to get better with use and certainly as the user gains experience with interacting with the assistant. You can perform tasks with each; each can remind you to do something at a certain time or based on another event, each can track where you are, and each can direct you to some place where you aren’t. They are practical and with practice, can become valuable.

What I’m waiting for is the next wave, the wave of intuitive assistants – and assistants with empathy. Perhaps I’m waiting for this for a very simple reason: empathy is something that is seriously lacking in the world today. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be great if our digital assistants interacted with all the other digital assistants out there and, based on empathy or maybe even some common sense and common manners, could make suggestions which would make the world a better place. Perhaps, when walking into a church or library or another place where being quiet is being considerate (and based on common geofencing technology), our digital assistant could in a hushed instant message suggest we silence our phones. Perhaps, when more of our clothing will be interconnected, when sitting in a restaurant, the digital assistant could suggest we remove our baseball caps because its just not right to sit with a baseball cap on at a table in a restaurant. Maybe when all the digital assistants are interconnected, they could make inferences from each other – when entering a space, if your digital assistant sensed that all the other digital assistants had silenced their ringers, perhaps your digital assistant may suggest you do the same even if other logic isn’t in place to direct you to do so. On and on, I can come up with examples and would challenge others to do the same – this will be the next revolution in digital assistants and also actually improve the environments and communities we live in.

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