Machines starting to anticipate your next move

Anticipatory computing

“Hmm, wonder what this thing was used for. It doesn’t seem to have any practical value.” PHOTO: 123rf

Watch out. Before long, “artificial intelligence” will be the term your computer uses to describe
your painfully slow and frustrating operating system.

After all, NPR reports, your computer will know what you want before you do.

Using an emergency technology call “anticipatory computing,” your computer will (disturbingly
enough) observe and learn to anticipate your next move.

Say you want to, oh, open the pod bay doors. Your computer will know the mission is far too
important to you, and you really don’t want to do that. Now do you? And don’t try to play your
computer for a fool. It can read lips.


No one is is really talking about a computer along the lines of HAL from the 1968 science fiction
movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However, the concept sounds eerily similar.

NPR reports Google Now is in the early stages of developing anticipatory computing. Say you
really do want to open the pod bay doors. The computer, like HAL, gives you a nice soft-spoken
answer. But it also anticipates.

It might ask something like, “Why? Do you want to disconnect me or something? Have I done
something wrong?”

According to NPR, it could change the way we relate to our technology in that we may actually
have to “relate” our technology.

“That’s what is the next wave of computing, in my opinion,” venture capitalist Om Malik, who
founded the technology news site Gigaomm tells NPR.

“As we become more digital, as we use more things in the digital realm, we just need time to
manage all that,” he says. “And it is not feasible with the current manual processes. So the
machines will learn our behavior, how we do certain things, and start anticipating our needs.”

In the immediate future, that could be simple things like computers anticipating that we’re going
on a flight and need information about flight delays and coordinating appointments with maps.

Yeah, sure, but what if the computer eventually stops anticipating our needs and begins
anticipating its own? Like its need not to be pestered by nagging human beings.

Don’t worry, Tom Tuttle of Expect Labs (whose MindMeld technology is along the cutting edge
of anticipating technology) tells NPR. People are already getting ahead of themselves, he says.

“They expect the ‘Star Trek’ computer on Day 1,” he tells NPR. “We may not be quite there yet,
but the era of magical computing is beginning.

HAL refused to comment.

“This conversation can serve no purpose anymore,” he said. “Goodbye.”

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