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"Ah, Theo!", says my Personal Awareness Assistant

Friday, 7 March 2003 - Soon it will not be necessary anymore to ask a person's name again, if you vaguely remember his or her face, to realise embarrassed that you met this person several times already. The New York company Accenture is developing a Personal Awareness Assistant (PAA). It will be capable to retrieve critical information at the right time. The name of the person you are talking to, the name of a book, etc.

The PAA is a true "spare memory" for mankind. It consists of a minicomputer, a mini-camera that is hidden under the collar, and two microphones. Its function is best described through the following examples. After hearing a pre-programmed phrase like "it is pleasant to be introduced" the PAA stores several seconds of conversation, because in this time space names will fall. It will store the full sound file, because technology does not allow yet reliable voice-recognition of names. The PAA will also take a picture of the person you are talking to. With its built-in clock and GPS the PAA will keep a very handy log of meetings. You can use the microphone yourself to ask the system "with whom did I talk the day before yesterday" to get a comprehensive report.

Personal Awareness AssistantYou may also find yourself in the awkward situation that you start talking about a book, but then you fail to remember the title. The PAA will respond to a key phrase like "ah, this is an interesting book", look up a previous conversation, and replay the exact details maybe even somebody else (!) told you. Through GPS and Internet it will even look up the nearest location where the book is sold.

It is still in a conceptual state, and of course one has to realise the privacy issues with gadgets like these. Nevertheless, a smart idea from Accenture!

Category: Technology

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