Speaking at Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that Microsoft Bob-style personal assistants may re-emerge with more sophistication. We have already seen arrival of such programs in the name of Apple’s Siri, Google Now, etc, which are nothing but modern age Microsoft Bob/Clippy. These programs offer personal assistance by understanding what users are doing and anticipating their needs. Here is the transcript of Bill’s answer to the question related to it at the event.
He explained, “It’s been talked about for decades, and now really is possible — where we see where you’re going, we see your calendar, we see your various communications. … We can actually look at the text, look at the speech, try to be helpful to you in your activities. I think we will be more connected and therefore if somebody wants to do a task like find a gift of a certain type, organize a trip in a certain way, there will be a closer match — that is, the gap between what the software can do for them and what most people end up doing, that could be reduced.
“But you always make mistakes on these things. When the machine tries to do the table with numbers, or the dog comes up and says, ‘Oh, you didn’t do this thing right,’ Microsoft Bob-style. A long time ago we tried a little personality that was definitely premature. I think it will re-emerge, but perhaps with a bit more sophistication. We were just ahead of our time, like most of our mistakes.”