Last night (September 15, 2009) the MIT/Stanford VLAB hosted another sold out event, AI: Rise of the Machines, at Stanford.
The focus of the event was how businesses are adopting AI-based applications to...der der der....replace us humans!!! Sounds like the prelude to the Matrix (or Terminator for us who are more old school)!
The panel was moderated by Sven Strohband (Partner, MDV), and the panelists included:
- Dag Kittlaus (Co-founder & COE, Siri)
- Paul Rhodes (CEO, Evolved Machines)
- Steve Cousins (President & CEO, Willow Garage)
- George John (CEO, Rocket Fuel, Inc)
- Rob Haitani, (CPO, Vitamin D)
One of the coolest products on the panel, for me, was Siri. Siri's application is the equivalent to having a virtual assistant. Siri is available as an iPhone app and you just tell it what to do and it gets it done. Siri believes that "Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) represent the next generation interaction paradigm for the Internet." As opposed to just old fashioned scheduling and manual planning you are interacting and conversing with your devices. The technology behind VPAs "corresponds to the essential qualities of an assistant: conversational interface, brokering to multiple services, and personal context awareness," according to Siri website.
The core of this idea sprouted from the SRI's CALO (Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes) project, who claim to be "leading the development of new software that could revolutionize how computers support decision-makers." CALO's sole goal is to create a VPA. Attendees of this event got a cool demo from Siri's CEO, Dag Kittlaus, who gave great insight to the product and his take on the future of AI and stated how "the definition of AI means different thing to different people."
The entire panel was very involved in what and how AI will shape technological advance for the present and the future, and this is defiantly a space to pay close attention to!