Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A better virtual assistant

Editor's Note: Remember the dancing paperclip that came with MS Office? Clippy was his name. Very annoying. Researchers think it's time we had the real thing.

New Scientist - July 29, 2009, by MacGregor Campbell

Two years since its demise, the spectre of Microsoft's animated paperclip, Clippy, still haunts anyone hoping to develop a virtual assistant to help people get things done. Few have tried to push virtual assistants to the public since.

But Clippy's unpopularity hasn't deterred the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from spending an estimated $150 million on its own virtual helper.

And although intended to ease the US military's bureaucratic load, an artificially intelligent helper based on the project is heading the way of consumers later this year.

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