Apple predicted AI assistant for tablets in 1987
You can not be Siri-us
At Apple's iPhone event yesterday, the company talked-up its voice-activated AI assistant, Siri - a feature of iOS 5 that'll first see beta release on the iPhone 4S.
This concept is nothing new, though. In fact, Apple predicted a virtual assistant would hit tablet-like devices back in the 1980s, when Steve Jobs was busy with his NeXT project and John Sculley still held the reins, Waxy reports.
The following concept video, created for the ex-CEO's EDUCOM keynote presentation in 1987, documents something called 'Knowledge Navigator', a voice-controlled assistant embedded in a touchscreen tablet device. It also shows off a FaceTime-style videocall feature, well and truly ahead of the game.
Based on dates mentioned, the footage is set in a fictional September 2011 - last month, to be precise.
The clip's professor character asks his assistant to dig up a paper written "about five years ago", and as the calendar reads 16 September, we'll assume the scene represents where Apple saw itself today.
While the rest of the set definitely feels a bit dated, the tablet computer and AI assistant is all a bit spot on. Apple's 'predictions' were off by less than a month. Now that's an impressive crystal ball. ®
Is 'Siri' a reference to 'Sirius Cybernetics'?
It looks like 1987 Apple had merely been watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. They had talking computers which could manipulate graphical data, and they also had tablet computers called PADDs.
Sirius Cybernetics Corporation
"Your plastic pal who's fun to be with".
It never fails to amuse me that despite 20 years of everyone experiencing just how dumb computers are, they are still prepared to believe that this kind of intelligent behaviour is just a few years away. If you meet someone who claims he can build such a system, don't lend him any money.
In which case...
...please direct me to a HOWTO on "how to distress digital video footage in Final Cut Pro so it looks like it came off a knackered-out NTSC VHS tape from c.1987"?
I'm not saying it's not possible - simply that if it's a fake, it's a pretty well-executed one, don't you think?
This is not so far removed from the capabilities of the Apple Newton software being able to 'Fax Bob' back in the '90s.
Sure there is voice recognition but that has always been on the cards.
Also much better contextual understanding plus t'internet but this is just scale.
The Newt was the iPad v0.1