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Finally: Real virtual assistants

Mike Elgan | Dec. 18, 2012
Apple's Siri feature is supposed to be a "virtual personal assistant," and one that's "proactive" and "intelligent."

Presumably, for example, it will factor in your daily detour to Starbucks in calculating your morning commute time.

Grokr harvests a lot of data from Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, which Google Now doesn't do. Grokr also gathers information from Yelp, Factual, Rovi and other sites.

It also looks for data in its own user-contributed and company-curated knowledge base, which the company claims holds 700 million facts.

Ultimately, however, Grokr is based on a predictive algorithm that figures out who you are, what your circumstances are and what you care about and then predicts what incoming information you want to know about.

The future begins today

EasilyDo, Google Now and Grokr represent the future of human-machine interaction.

Make no mistake: This is hardcore science fiction becoming reality.

Siri and Google Voice Search might represent the latest and most advanced way for humans to get information from machines in the old way. We ask the machine a question; it tries to give us an answer.

But the new generation of real virtual assistants represents the future of how humans will get information from machines.

Instead of giving us answers to questions we have asked, the assistants of the future will give us answers to the questions we should have asked but didn't because we lacked the information or awareness to know that we should ask them.

The future of "real virtual assistants" is here at last.


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