Phones to turn psychics soon

Last Updated 03 May 2018, 03:51 IST

Chief technology officer Justin Rattner stuffed sensors down his socks at the annual Intel Develop Forum in San Francisco on Wednesday to demonstrate how personal devices will one day offer advice that goes way beyond local restaurants and new songs to download.

“How can we change the relationship so we think of these devices not as devices but as assistants or even companions,” he asked.

Handheld devices could combine already common geographic location technology with data from microphones, cameras, heart and body monitors and even brain scans to offer their owners advice that today only a friend or relative could give.

“Imagine a device that uses a variety of sensory modalities to determine what you are doing at an instant, from being asleep in your bed to being out for a run with a friend,” Rattner said. “Future devices will constantly learn about who you are, how you live, work and play.”

Rattner also demonstrated a television remote control that figures out who is holding it based on how it is held, and then learns the viewer’s entertainment preferences.

Telephones with email, global positioning and media players are pointing the way to a future where ever more functions are packed into ever smaller mobile devices. Rattner conceded that questions about privacy and people’s willingness to be intimate with their computers will have to be resolved before the future generation of smartphones he described takes off.

“If you think identity threat is a problem today, imagine when your whole context is readily available on the Net,” he said.

More phone wonders

Rattner showed a few more examples of phones acting as psychics in your pocket.
Among them: a prototype application Intel worked on with Fodor’s Travel. It learns what types of food you like to eat and what types of attractions you like to visit, based on searches you type into the phone or locations identified using GPS. The software makes similar recommendations when you visit a new city.

Tech companies are already working to predict what people want, but only in pieces. Search engine Google Inc, movie-rental service Netflix Inc and online radio service Pandora try to anticipate what people want even before they know they want it.

Stringing those types of functions together with the wealth of other information that phones collect about people could pave the way for even more helpful electronics, Rattner said.

(Published 16 September 2010, 15:22 IST)

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