Documenting the Coming Singularity

Monday, March 02, 2009

Singularity via Microsoft? - Microsoft Mapping Course to a Jetsons-Style Future

NYT - March 1, 2009, by Ashlee Vance

Hrvoje Benko demonstrating a Microsoft projection system that lets people manipulate large video images with their hands. Stuart Isett for The New York Times.

REDMOND, Wash. — Meet Laura, the virtual personal assistant for those of us who cannot afford a human one.

Built by researchers at Microsoft, Laura appears as a talking head on a screen. You can speak to her and ask her to handle basic tasks like booking appointments for meetings or scheduling a flight.

More compelling, however, is Laura’s ability to make sophisticated decisions about the people in front of her, judging things like their attire, whether they seem impatient, their importance and their preferred times for appointments.

Instead of being a relatively dumb terminal, Laura represents a nuanced attempt to recreate the finer aspects of a relationship that can develop between an executive and an assistant over the course of many years.

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