These assistants--which today are probably best represented by Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Google Now--work by examining and crunching mountains of data about our own profile and data around us and engage in probabilistic analyses to make its predictions. That ingested data can include, for example, our past search history, our social media profile, our current location, our digital calendar, our past online preferences, and countless digital signals surrounding us embedded in objects.
There is even an excellent and compelling book on this development, written by Stefan Weitz, (Weitz had been the director of Microsoft Search) titled Search: How the Data Explosion Makes Us Smarter. In the book, Weitz goes into great detail on the promise of how what we mean by search will change based on this revolution in online searching.
As part of a recent interview I conducted with Weitz in the September 2015 issue of The Information Advisor's Guide to Internet Research, we described the forecast capabilities of the personal intelligent assistant like this:
So, say you are at a hotel and ready to go to a conference. Today you might go online and look up the location, then call for a cab, and make sure you’ve ordered breakfast via room service in enough time to get there for the first meeting. But in the new search environment, your digital assistant will have your favorite “on the road” room service breakfast ordered at the right time to your room, a cab called and ready, and a digital display of the address of the hotel for you to give the cab.
So for this week's blog I just want to pose a question: one can imagine a variety of consumer-oriented applications like the above for an intelligence personal assistant, but are there possibilities for business researchers? Could this be useful for finding information on companies, industries, new technologies, market research, patents/copyrights, trade, international statistical information and so on. If so, what would this look like?
I'd be grateful to hear from you on your speculations on what the potential is, if any, of the personal intelligent assistant for the business researcher.