Watching the Google IO presentation I was impressed by how Google tries to work things out based on where you are, such as showing you transit stops nearby, but would it be possible for a search tool to work out not what to do now, but what you’re likely to do next?
We like to think we’re all individuals and subject to a lot of irrationality, but we also have patterns of behaviour. If you’re commuting to work and regularly stop at a cafe on the way to work, could it suggest sending a message ahead as you seem to be doing it, so it’s ready when you arrive? Or perhaps if you’re not taking enough photographs with blue skies, that maybe it’s time you took a day off before work grinds you down?
If you’ve read PG Wodehouse, what I’m talking about is a computer that’s a bit like Jeeves, Bertie Wooster’s valet who didn’t just do what his employer asked him, but developed a knack for being prepared for what was going to be asked of him.
I don’t think a computer will have that level of intelligence, but in specific ways, it may be possible. To some extent, we already have it – GPS applications can tell us about traffic problems ahead – but that’s at quite a simple stage, and is based on the situation now. A GPS application that can work out how traffic is building or diminishing is a smarter tool.