Many folks have seen the YouTube video above, an Apple demonstration from 1987 titled Knowledge Navigator. Now that we’re in 2018, have we achieved this level of interaction?
DisEmbodied Location Conversational Agents (DELCA) are intelligent agents that interact with their environment (including us). This could be a web site with a computer avatar or a conversant robot.
There have been some interesting embodied agents over the years. This includes MAKEbot from Make back in 2006. The U.S. military has been using an agent on their website – Sgt. Star – for awhile. The FBI and CIA use a similar system to the Army. Some shopping websites have used avatars also.
Agents are not above running into controversy – Sgt. Star was cited for failure to release records via a FOIA request back in 2014 from EFF.
Current companies working on conversational agents include Facebook messenger and agent.ai.
As the day comes closer that Google and Apple look to make Alexa and Siri visual avatars, able to have real-time conversational discussions, are we heading to a future envisioned by Apple last century?
Hopefully recent research will give us an idea. There is a good group of folks writing cogent papers on the subject:
There are likely a few we’re missing in this brief overview, post’em up in the comments!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.