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Siri co-founder talks about superhuman computer-assisted memory at TED conference

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We reckon most of you would have watched ‘Lucy’, starring gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, where she was able to attain all knowledge of the world and access each memory of every experience in her life. Top Apple AI expert and Siri co-founder Tom Gruber spoke about pretty much a ‘Lucy’ type of scenario in the foreseeable future, in relation to the evolving field of AI, at TED this Tuesday.

Mr Gruber painted a picture, where computers not only help and assist people with simple tasks, but also enhance their cognitive and recall potential. Human robots, folks, that’s what Apple’s exec spoke about. In his speech, he laid out an idea that the vast majority of people consider only in the spectrum of sci-fi – having computer-assisted memory of every place, taste, person or interaction you have ever experienced. The talk focused on how computers will integrate with our lives and assist us in ways it's hard to imagine. Gruber sees a future where AI gives humans "superhuman intelligence", but did not specify when we might expect to see such tech become a reality.


Imagine having an AI-operated storage of your entire human experience, just like you would backup your computer, or in the case of Apple – a Time Capsule kind of snapshots of life records. Of course, this is just our very random guess about what ubiquitous AI ecosystem Apple might come up with, but Cupertino certainly seems to be working on something big, if we take Gruber’s speech into consideration.

The impact of enhanced computer-assisted memory may be spectacular and horrific at the same time, though. While such technology may save much suffering for patients with debilitating illnesses, and their families, it may pose some serious privacy and personal data concerns. Imagine having a digitalized account for everything you have ever done, thought or experienced, sitting on a flash-drive or in a web cloud. Yeah…the abuse potential is massive.

The mobile AI assistants sphere has seen a lot of investments from tech giants in recent months and years. Samsung released its own Bixby assistant last month in the Galaxy S8, while Amazon’s Alexa has been gaining ground in the smart home department for some time now. Siri benefited from boosted third-party apps integration in iOS 10, but still feels rather artificial and inadequate in certain cases. Nonetheless, if we are to judge by Tom Gruber’s TED talk, Apple’s vision of the future of AI is quite exciting. Fingers crossed that we will see a ‘smarter’ Siri towards the end of the year, when the next batch of iPhones is unveiled.

Video of the talk has not yet been released by TED, but should soon be available on its official website. 

source: Axios via 9To5Mac

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