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Siri’s Creators Demonstrate an Assistant That Takes the Initiative


In a small, dark, room off a long hallway within a sprawling complex of buildings in Silicon Valley, an array of massive flat-panel displays and video cameras track Grit Denker’s every move. Denker, a senior computer scientist at the nonprofit R&D institute SRI, is showing off Bright, an intelligent assistant that could someday know what information you need before you even ask.

Initially, Bright is meant to cut down on the cognitive overload faced by workers in high-stress, data-intensive jobs like emergency response and network security. Bright may, for instance, aid network administratorsin trying to stop the spread of a fast-moving virus by quickly providing crucial infection information, or help 911 operators send the right kind of assistance to the scene of an accident.

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