I'm Sorry, I Can't Connect Your Call, Dave

Is the next step in artificial intelligence really being used to answer telephone calls? That's a claim being made by one AI company... and maybe the very reason why we should prepare for oncoming robocalypse.

New Scientist reports that LA-based Adaptive AI is preparing to release what they're calling the first commercially-available artificial intelligence, and all to make those automated phone calls much more enjoyable:

[Adaptive AI founder Peter] Voss freely admits his creation is far short of a human's abilities, but it is much smarter than other "dumb" phonebots, he says.

You can talk to SmartAction almost as naturally as you would to a real person.

For example, Voss says the system can use its ability to track the flow and sense of the conversation to work out who a pronoun - such as she or you - is referring to.

The system will also infer if the line goes dead mid-conversation, and phone the caller back, rewinding to the "mental state" it was before the disconnection.

Admittedly, I would have hoped that HAL's ancestors would have a slightly more noble purpose than bothering you while you're trying to watch TV in the evening to ask about your car insurance - You know, like being a grandmaster at chess or plotting a convoluted plan to overthrow humanity than involves more than a liberal use of time-travel - but I'll take my innovations in technology where I can get them, thanks very much. Anything as long as it brings us Cherry 2000 that much sooner.

Flickr image by alexkerhead.

Artificial Brain For Sale [New Scientist]