Intel’s Jarvis: How Many Personal Assistants Can Dance On The Head of a Pin?

Earlier this year, Intel announced their Jarvis virtual assistant platform, which is an attempt to fit a full-featured virtual assistant into an earpiece.  Named after the artificially intelligent computer assistant of Tony Stark from the Iron Man comic and movies, there are several special features of Intel’s virtual agent.

Jarvis.jpgFirstly, Jarvis fits onto a single chip. Intel makes the Edison microprocessor that houses all the components that power the virtual assistant. These components include Jarvis’s voice recognition and natural language processing features (apparently powered by Nuance). Edison is based on Quark technology and is a mini computer embedded in what appears to be an SD card. That’s a lot of intelligence in a small footprint.

The second interesting fact about Jarvis is that it operates without relying on the cloud. Siri, Google Now, and other mobile personal assistants are cloud-based technologies. When you ask this current generation of personal assistants a question, your voice is sent to servers to parse the meaning of your statement, then to search algorithms to find an answer to your question, and then the result is returned to your mobile device. This round trip and processing time delays your response. With the built-in intelligence of Intel’s Edison chip, Jarvis offers the promise of responding to your inquiry immediately.

As the age of smart machines and the Internet of Everything evolves, there may be a growing demand for intelligent microprocessors that perform all the functions of a personal assistant, but without having to depend on an Internet connection. In a previous post, I wrote about Cognitive Code’s SILVIA technology, which also has the ability to run an intelligent assistant’s brain in a very small footprint. It’ll be interesting to watch the evolution of intelligent personal assistant technology as the world of smart devices expands.

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