Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

FT: Intelligent systems: Tools that will discreetly tap a shoulder to offer help

The last thing anyone needs when they are concentrating on a task is to be interrupted, whether by a visitor or a message. It might take 10 minutes or more to refocus fully.

“Some interruptions are courteous, such as a tap on the shoulder or a knock on the door,” says Eric Horvitz, the principal researcher for the Adaptive Systems and Interaction group at Microsoft Research. “We want to build our applications to be courteous and intelligent about the nature and timing of interruptions. We need a better alerting model that understands how busy you are and when to defer alerts till later.”

When Mr Horvitz holds a meeting, only the right people can interrupt: find out who by reading the rest on FT DB

The first thing Eric told us when we first had a meeting with him was who could and couldn't interrupt; the second meeting was in a conference room where he fired details of project after project at us. I didn't have space for half of them, including the idea of a social network like Bruce Sterling's Maniki Neko concept: as you pass this shop tomorrow, pick up a bottle of bay rum and leave it in that hotel and you'll get points in a reward account, take a photo for me from this place at that time of day so I can complete my Photosynth and get whuffie...

He has a lot of ideas about making hybrids smarter about where you're going. Say you live in a valley but you have to drive over a hill to get there. You go uphill and the gas motor kicks in, in case you run out of electricity before you get to the top; but if the car knew how high the hill was going to be and that you would be going down the other side, regenerative-braking all the way, it could keep the motor off.

Tags: ai, articles, ft, interview, microsoft, technology, writing

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