Google files patent for ‘smart’ digital social network assistant

By November 28, 2013
plusieurs icônes représentant des réseaux sociaux, autour d'un smartphone

Google now has plans to help social networks subscribers save time. The firm has filed a patent for a software package capable of creating responses on social media geared to the user’s habits and personality.

The proliferation of social networks and their burgeoning content is becoming increasingly time-consuming for users and keeping up a presence on the various social platforms has now become a burden for some. Now Google has filed a patent for a system designed to help users cope by assisting with their responses and activities on these platforms. The idea is that Google’s smart software will provide a personalized service based on a cognitive approach, drawing on the huge amount of information gathered by the web giant. So, in the coming years we can probably expect to see a number of ‘smart’ personal assistants appearing and a boom in the market for ‘smart machines’ in general – i.e. machines with artificial intelligence, capable of sifting through variety of contextual data in order to support and guide the user. 

Anticipating user actions and responses on social networks

The patent filed by Google on 19 November 2013 describes a smart system capable of learning how an individual user can be expected to respond on the social networks in order to provide personalized assistance. How it will work is that the service will create and put forward for the user’s approval pop-up messages suggesting appropriate responses or actions on a social platform. The system will therefore not be fully automated. Google intentionally wants to maintain the human dimension, allowing the user to keep control of his/her own network activity. In its bid to provide this type of service, Google of course has a major asset:  the masses of information on users which the company collects. The system will sift through data from emails, SMS, social networks and other systems in order to suggest responses in line with the user’s likes, interests and usual behavior.

Smart machines on the way

In the coming years we are likely to see an increasing number of digital personal assistants and smart machines on the market. According to US information technology research and advisory company Gartner, the smart machines sector is set to soar between now and 2020, with a proliferation of smart personal assistants, smart advisors and advanced industrial systems, all of which will be able to take contextual data on board. Gartner also predicts that smart machines will be the most disruptive phenomenon ever in information technology. In fact machines with impressive artificial intelligence are already in existence, most notably IBM’s Watson computer system, which can answer questions posed in natural language. Following its TV appearances, Watson is now in commercial use resolving problems in the medical field. The smart machineboom is also reflected in the recent progress in driverless vehicles. These cars are able to drive in automated fashion, fully autonomously in real traffic on ordinary roads, without any human guidance. Within a few decades we can expect exponential improvements in this type of technology and futurists such as Ray Kurzweil even claim that one day machines will inevitably become more intelligent than human beings. 


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