February 03, 2015

Science fiction writers like Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov have analyzed the benefits – and dangers – of artificial intelligence (AI) for decades.
Until just a few years ago, however, all of this was just science fiction. Then came Siri. The Apple-developed personal assistant was a first step into our new AI-based reality.

Now, x.ai founder and CEO Dennis Mortensen has taken AI to a new level. And he makes a distinction between Siri and “Amy,” the virtual personal assistant he's created.
“If you took up your iPhone right now and asked it ‘what is the time in Singapore?’ Siri will tell you…but Siri wouldn’t be able to do a job for you.” As Mortensen explains, users are able to give Amy Ingram – yes, her initials are deliberate –  the specific task of scheduling a meeting, and then let her run with it. She can work with the other parties to adjust the time, work around your schedule, and even bring in more guests as needed – without you intervening.
Mortensen hopes to see more specific jobs done by AI. Tasks that we now suffer through – like endlessly searching Expedia in order to book a vacation – could also be taken off our hands.
“What I actually really want here is to have some agent I can just email and say, ‘hey Jessie, can you set that weekend trip up for me, please?’ And all I see is a couple invites for my calendar, the tickets, when to leave…and it’s all good.”
X.ai isn’t the only company breaking into the AI market. The Grid promises that its AI will build you a custom website and Beansprock is a new website that puts artificial intelligence to work on your job hunt.
We’ve had firsthand experience with Amy – she scheduled Mortensen’s interview – and didn’t try to kill any of us.

Dennis Mortensen, artificial intelligence, X.AI, Sci and Tech

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