X.ai Builds a New Kind of Intelligent Meeting Assistant

X.ai is building a new personal meeting assistant, according to Techcrunch. The company has named the personal assistant Amy. The assistant’s full name is Amy Ingram,  so it’s not named after me, thank goodness! (Maybe the name isn’t so great for all the real life Amy Ingram’s out there. Now they’ll join the club of us folks who share the same name as a non-human imaginative figure).  Why does Amy need a real person’s name? Because X.ai is using a clever technology that differs from other personal meeting assistants

Screen shot 2014-05-29 at 6.49.37 PMYou don’t have to talk to Amy to ask her to set up a meeting. No voice commands needed. Instead, you simply copy her on the emails you send out about the meeting. The Amy smart technology will parse the email content and determine when and where to schedule the meeting and who to invite. Actually, I think you can also talk to Amy to have her (it) schedule your meeting if you prefer that option. But having her infer your intent from emails is more seamless.

The X.ai personal assistant reminds me a bit of AVA, a technology offered by Bluesky that is targeted at auto dealers. The products fit completely different use cases, but they both employ AI techniques that interact with email and mimic human actions. AVA applies AI algorithms to read and write email correspondence that drives leads into the dealership and follows up to help close the sale. AVA supplements the dealership’s car salesmen and saleswomen who might be too busy (or too distracted) to follow up on every lead. In the demos provided of the AVA technology, the person receiving the email correspondence has no idea that they’re interacting with a non-human email bot / agent.

As language processing and machine learning algorithms improve, software agents will increasingly be able to mimic human conversational partners in both written and spoken exchanges. Having a virtual personal assistant who isn’t human, but who you can have organize your life just by including it on emails, seems like a useful thing indeed. Google Now already possesses a hint of these capabilities. It produces useful cards by recognizing the content of your Gmail messages. Just this weekend, Google Now presented me a card with all the information I needed for a hotel reservation I’d made. I was about to rifle through all my emails to try to find the confirmation number, but there is was, right on the card.

There’s an interesting blog post on the X.ai website by Dennis R. Mortensen, the company’s CEO and Founder, about how intelligent agents will soon be mining our email to find tasks to execute on our behalf.

If you want to be one of the first to try out the Amy automated meeting assistant, you can head to the X.ai website and add your email to their waiting list.

 

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