Let me introduce to Amy Ingram.
Amy is an assistant. She schedules and reschedules meetings. She does it like most folks do these days - by email. She just sent me one saying - Marina has confirmed her 2pm meet next week and Amy is asking "Does that work?".
One of our partners at BrandPie in NY has been testing her skills. Amy is impressive. She doesn't sleep, take a salary or have lunch breaks. Her english is impeccable, even though she is still in Beta testing, and she uses a nice informal tone.
When I first encountered Amy a couple of weeks back I corresponded with her as if she were human and she corresponded back in the same way. For a while I thought she was. So far she is accurate and very reliable. Her only issue to date is accurately scheduling meetings in Outlook across different time zones - though I suspect she is not alone in being challenged by that one.
Amy is probably going to be a brand. She may already be one. She may even be a mega brand one day.
On the choice of Amy as the brand name whoever created her quickly needs to give her a mate - Ron Ingram maybe? As it seems inappropriate to have made this AI only in a female version.
That aside Amy set me thinking about what sort of brands will be born from the world of AI. When you dig there are already plenty out there. They are gently slipping into our lives and they are about to come thick and fast.
We all know Siri. Possibly the most famous AI brand to date.
Then there is Amazon Echo and Alexa. Echo takes AI to another level and is blowing people away with it's prowess. Echo is one clever dude and Echo has pissed Siri off big time. Echo is an AI with a higher IQ.
Amazon Echo, if you haven't seen it, is remarkable. It costs $179.99. Is a speaker that plays your streaming music. Has 'far a field' voice control. Answers questions, reads you your audiobooks, controls lighting and heating (via Nest) - all using Alexa voice services. No surprise - Echo and Alexa can order pretty much anything online and have it delivered to you by Amazon. It learns to buy the brands you like.
CNET said "Echo may be the closet thing we'll have to a Star Trek computer at home"
It looks like the big tech brands are squaring up for a battle royal. Who is going to dominate AI?
Why? Because AI is going to be a very big media highway that will run straight into our wallets. Echo is already speeding in there - big time. Put Echo with Paypal and you will be broke!
Consequently, everyday AI is being built into more and more products and services.
This week at the Apple developer conference they announced their next version of the iPhone will be even better at guessing what you want to type before you type it. It will understand context. A delightful quirk of english that confuses the baby AIs of today. Like a lot of big tech brands, Apple is deploying deep neural networks, networks of hardware and software that learn by analysing vast amounts of data. These networks can now remember and work out when you use a word with multiple meanings like 'play' or 'rain' which precise meaning you are deploying in your text or email. This has created another new brand - 'QuickType'.
Google not surprisingly is in there too and they use the same neural network technology to power 'SmartReply' - which suggests responses to email messages to save you time. Google have also launched their own version of Amy. Appropriately asexual and called 'Springboard'.
Springboard will help you to 'surface information' (or find stuff as you and I would say) in your Gmail, calendar and google docs (as many of us will testify we all now spend around a day a week 'surfacing information'). Google is also experimenting with AI for creativity - the image below DogKnight was created totally by an AI at Google. What was that AI smoking?
Photo Credit: Google
Where next? Today the average AI sits on a large server and pushes information to your device - so for those of us who become addicted to our AI and want to stay connected it will open up a huge market for wearable or mobile AIs. So you can expect plenty of brands to join Fitbit and Apple in the battle for our wrists and lapels.
And Apple is already working on neural networks that can sit on a smaller device like the iPhone or Apple watch. Which could mean one day your watch will really think for you!
Who knows where will is all end? What is clear is that the AIs of today are just the tip of the AI iceberg.
So spend some time, get know Amy, Siri, Echo & Alexa, QuickType and SmartReply as the world of AI explodes into your world and the world of brands.
Photo Credit: 'Ex_Machina' Universal Pictures