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Kudos to Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research Lab and lead AI researcher

by Tom Austin  |  January 28, 2015  |  Comments Off on Kudos to Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research Lab and lead AI researcher

I want to be clear. I try not to endorse vendors or vendor products in this blog. This post will be no exception.

Levi Sumagaysay posted a quote from Eric Horvitz (Microsoft MSR AI lead)  in her silicon beat blog

“There have been concerns about the long-term prospect that we lose control of certain kinds of intelligences. I fundamentally don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Eric’s also “pumped” about what we call virtual personal assistants (or, more simply, smart agents). Quoting Levi’s quote of Eric:

“We have Cortana and Siri and Google Now setting up a competitive tournament for where’s the best intelligent assistant going to come from.”

Couldn’t agree more with him on both quotes!

But let’s be clear. His list of potential contenders is far too narrow. And the notion there will be a single best intelligent assistant to rule the day.

We don’t see people standardizing on one virtual personal assistant. We’ll all have many we partially rely on. Two or three for finances, maybe more. (You don’t put all your money with one broker, do you? Even worse, one security or fund?) Many (and overlapping) for social: family, extended family, long term work associates, friends, fellow alumni. Some to watch over the ‘net. Others to handle some of our email, our career development, our hobbies…and more than one in every category.

Heck, in the long term, we expect to see smart agents that will watch over and advise us on how some of our other smart agents are performing … you get the picture.

Update: Levi’s post was based on this BBC article which contains far more content.


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Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio

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