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Would Microsoft's 'guardian angel' turn our brains to mush?

• Posted by Nick Eaton, blog.seattlepi.com
I was reading TechFlash's Monday piece on Microsoft's new "guardian angel" patent, and it stirred up a creepy feeling inside of me. In the time I've been covering Microsoft for seattlepi.com, I've had this strange shudder a handful of times. And I'm wondering if other people feel it, as well. TechFlash reported that Microsoft has been granted a patent on an "intelligent personal agent" that could predict a user's wants and actions. If the user is at a shopping mall and the software's artificial intelligence knows it's lunchtime, the "guardian angel" could search for nearby restaurants that serve the user's preferred foods, choose a cuisine based on the user's recent meals, check for seating availability, and make lunch reservations. This is an example laid out in Microsoft's 2006 patent application, which lists Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie as two of the inventors. But I know of an existing device that already has this function. It's called the human brain.

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