If you’ve ever watched a sci-fi show or movie you’ve probably seen a scene where a person has interacted verbally with a computer, and the computer spoke back to the person like a conversation between two people. This is artificial intelligence, or AI.
The computer can even be a character, like J.A.R.V.I.S. in the Iron Man and Avengers movies.
How cool would it be to have something like J.A.R.V.I.S.?
Iron Man’s heads-up display (HUD) is totally bad-ass, too, and what Google Glass could possibly be in the future. Except no one wants to wear those dorky glasses (and no one wants to be around the people who do want to wear them).
But those are on our phones and tablets. What about in the home or car?
Well, Amazon has recently introduced a home device called Echo.
It looks cool, but unless you use Amazon’s music and movie service (which not a lot of people do), it’s strictly an encyclopedia and calculator that answers simple questions for you. Which isn’t an entirely bad thing, but that’s a far way off from Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S., or what Siri or Google do for you now. Initial reviews of Echo haven’t been great, especially when compared to Siri. That’s not all that shocking with this being a first generation product. However it is still cool to have a device in your house that will respond to any question or command that you call out to it.
Starting in iOS 8 you could interact with Siri by saying “Hey Siri”, but your phone has to be plugged in for this to work. This is a cool feature, but my phone is really only plugged in at night, or when I’m driving. That leaves a lot of time when the “Hey Siri” feature doesn’t work.
Microsoft recently announced that they are bringing Cortana to Windows 10, which is pretty awesome. I’ve been wanting Siri on the Mac (along with everyone else in the world) since the feature was released on the iPhone 4S in 2011. Hopefully this announcement lights a fire under Apple’s ass and they roll out Siri for OS X, and even Apple TV.
Having Siri on my Mac, and Apple TV would be awesome. My Apple TV is in our living room in our house, which is easily accessible from the kitchen with our open concept house.
Imagine having Siri being able to dictate your favorite recipe while you are cooking, interacting to your commands without having to touch a cookbook or app on your iPhone or iPad with sticky or wet fingers. Or calling out to your Apple TV to put on your favorite playlist as you wash the dishes without leaving the sink.
These are pretty non-trivial tasks, but this is only the beginning of the things that will shortly be possible with the AI on our phones and shortly our computers, or entire homes.
For a geek like me it’s painful to be so close, yet so far away. We’re on the cusp of a brand new and exciting world. If you’re a geek like me, any way.
However, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk have all warned of the dangers of AI. Also like, every science fiction writer, every movie relating to AI computers and robotics.
I, for one, welcome our new AI overlords. I just hope they don’t kill all humans too quickly.
Also, if you are a time traveler and go back into the past, don’t embarrass yourself while trying to interact with ancient tech.