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Siri Creators SRI at Work on “Bright” Futuristic Digital Assistant

by Jacob Kleinman | June 27, 2013June 27, 2013 11:00 pm PDT

SRI, the nonprofit research and development institute that brought you Siri, is hard at work on the digital assistant technology of the future; imagine the touchscreen Tom Cruise uses in Minority Report but even more awesome. It’s called Bright, and it’s being developed to help workers in high stress jobs like emergency response and network security. Bright could also help doctors stop a quick-moving virus by looking up infection information before they even need it.

So what does this mean for the rest of us? Like Siri before it, Bright could someday trickle down to consumer electronics. It could mean software that brings up information on your favorite shows when it knows you’re about to start watching TV, or searches the Internet for you without ever needing to type a single word. Sounds a bit like Google Now with its new TV cards, but perhaps it will be even more in depth. It could also be used in schools, notifying teachers when a student is struggling and even helping the student itself if the software was implemented in computers issued to all students.

As we noted, Google Now and similar services already offer predictive digital assistants that bring the user information before they ask for it based on time of day, location and previously recorded preferences. Bright goes far beyond Google’s app.

In a short demo video we see some of the software’s possibilities. For example, when a notification pops up several things can happen. If you don’t see it, Bright will push the incoming message or alert front and center, but if you glance at it and quickly look away the software assumes you’re not interested and dismisses the notification for you. Computers running Bright can also sync at the tap of a button, instantly passing information across computers, and multiple people can work on the same massive touchscreen at once.

Don’t expect to get your hands on this type of technology any time soon though, SRI’s team still has a long ways to go. This is the digital assistant of the future… not of next week or even next year.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...