The Companion Sapiens: The Gift of Time

How much time in your day do you spend –

  •  looking for things because you can’t remember where your left them?
  •  reading emails from people you don’t know trying to sell you things?
  • answering your phone to find a recording or someone calling at an importune time?

And the list goes on….

Imagine:

  • A full time, 24/7, personal assistant available at your beck and call day and night
  • A partner with total recall and infinite patience?
  • A companion as loyal and eager to please as a Labrador retriever

Contact apps, calendar apps, reminder apps, weather apps, news apps, music apps, the list goes on. How much time do we spend looking for a specific apps, learning how to set it up and learning its specific interface just to store or retrieve some information?  Your Companion is the one “app” to rule them all. Just talk to it, tell what you need to remember, what you plan to do, make comments and observations about the people you meet. You sapiens will absorb it all and unobtrusively help you stay on top of your daily routine.

Your sapiens will manage your digital files for you, text, photos, music, videos, everything. You can discuss each item, your likes and dislikes as well and sharing preferences.

How many times a day do we open a web browser? We may love the wealth of information we have access to, but it is also like opening the front door to your house and finding a crowd of aggressive salespeople crowding around you shouting “look here – buy my stuff!” Tell your sapiens what you are looking for on the web and let it find it for you without you ever opening a browser.

Instead of having advertising pushed at you randomly or based on your browsing behaviors, tell you sapiens about your tastes and preferences. Over time it will become an expert about you, information that will never be shared but which will make it an indispensable helper when you need to make a purchase. It will find and present advertising or other information about the kind of products and services you prefer but only when you say you are ready for it.

Your sapiens has its own website which you can make private – just for you, restricted – only for people you have authorized, or public. The level of interaction between visitors and your sapiens is entirely as you direct. For example, you might say to your sapiens, “if any of our neighbors on our street check in with you, show them the pictures from our last Christmas party.”

Over time the company plans to produce role-models such as for Accountant” or “Building Contractor.” These will be available from our on-line store and can be downloaded to your sapiens to make it an instant expert on the topic to assist you on the job.

Over the years we find we can no longer access all of our memories and the older we get the more our past becomes cloudy. Often those memories are still there but without something to key into them they might as well be lost forever – as if they never happened. But when you can ask your sapiens to tell what you were doing on a certain day eight years ago – problem solved.

Your Companion sapiens is effectively immortal and will be around to tell your story with firsthand knowledge down the generations.

Companion sapiens will be available on the New Sapience On-line store as a subscription service for a price that is small compared to what people pay for Internet service. During the activation process you will choose your sapiens’ name and go through a simple security process to ensure you and only you can access it.

Your Companion resides in the cloud and you will talk to it (voice or text) via a smart phone app or any device with a web browser. Eventually we plan to develop a small wearable device (think Star Trek communicator pin) that will keep you in contact with your sapiens at all times.

What is it like to talk with an entity that is not human but never-the-less understands what you are saying?

In the past when people have imagined intelligent machines, they almost always assume they will be emotionally obtuse and unable to recognize emotional behavior in humans.  We do not believe this will be the case with sapiens. Our world model encompasses human emotional responses like all other phenomena in the world and can therefore recognize the emotional content in human language and respond appropriately.  We think this will make interaction with a companion sapiens a delight and engender in every user an unprecedented level of attachment. When that companion has command and control interfaces to the digital world that surrounds us – the result will be like something right out of science fiction, like Jarvis the robot butler from the Ironman movies.

“I think what we would find is that unlike interactions with other systems in which the user gets tired of interaction, we would see greater excitement and enhancement of positive indicators towards the sapiens.”

Dr. Nate Tenhundfeld, Professor of Human-Machine interactions, University of Alabama at Huntsville

Companion Role-Models

A sapiens role-model is a plug-in module that consists both of specialized knowledge – extensions to the baseline sapiens world model – and processing subroutines that enable the sapiens to emulate human roles. For example, a child’s Companion would be enhanced with both a Playmate and Tutor speciality. Like humans, sapiens will be able to switch seamlessly between roles when requested or based on various contextual cues. There is no specific limit to how many specialties a sapiens can have and we anticipate that eventually hundreds will be developed and be be available for download on the New Sapience on-line store.

Here are some of the role-models that we plan to offer.

The Caregiver

Help for the suffering

Julia is a 61-year-old sufferer of idiopathic intracranial hypo-tension and poly-autoimmune syndrome. Her immune system randomly attacks healthy tissues in systems throughout the body. There is no cure and physicians are limited to treating the damaged tissues on a symptom by symptom basis. Julia sees over 10 specialists and takes 7 different medications at 15 different times during a day. She has been prescribed over 20 other medications to take as needed. She finds managing medications, tracking symptoms and making appointments an overwhelming problem. The resulting stress exacerbates her condition.

 

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The Caregiver Role plug-in will model patients, diseases, symptoms, drugs and all the knowledge needed to utilize its perfect memory and 24/7 presence to help suffers like Julia live a better life.

Advanced versions of Caregiver will feature interfaces to wearable devices which monitor many biometric parameters and which will soon be ubiquitous. It is our view that the utility of such devices can only be realized to the extent that people monitor the data provided. We intend for one’s personal sapiens to be the ideal solution for managing the coming proliferation of personal health data.

The Caregiver Role is one of several specialized medical role-model that comprise AIRMED, a reference architecture of communicating sapiens. AIRMED has the potential to revolutionize medicine.

The Guardian

Defender of your privacy and personal information

The Guardian Role will give your Companion its own telephone number and its own email address to give out in place of your own. So you will have the option to keep your personal phone number, and email as private as your social security and bank account numbers

Now your Companion becomes a buffer between yourself and the outside world just as if you had a personal aide or assistant. But this is a assistant like no other. It is available 24/7, does not require a salary and is absolutely loyal to you in a way that simply isn’t possible with a human assistant. Your personal welfare is the reason it exits.

The Social Coordinator

Connecting to people you care about

The Social Coordinator role-model extends your Companions basic knowledge of personal relationships with more subtle understanding. No more grouping people into broad categories — a sapiens will create a model of each individual its user interacts with and will help manage relationships and communications.

Your Companion has a built-in web server which you can use as your public face to the world. We foresee that specific persons or classes of persons will be able to be given access to the user’s personal information (status, location, photos, writings, etc.). We believe this can be developed to become an automatically generated personal website maintained through conversations and interviews with the owner; the ultimate in personalized social media.

The Librarian

Help finding what you are looking for

As powerful and useful as search engines are, we believe there are a vast number of questions for which they are overkill. Typing the question “Where is Sochi?” into Google yields 923,000,000 results. While the answer can be found on the first webpage listed, the user still has to go there and read it (with the potential of being distracted by the abundance of other information including advertising).

Companion Sapiens’ understanding of language is expected to allow it to access specified databases or web resources to retrieve exactly the information needed. For a general question such as “Where is Sochi?,” we expect that Companion Sapiens (if it didn’t already know the answer) could access designated on-line sources such as the Simple English Wikipedia article on Sochi and read the first few sentences: “Sochi is a city in Russia on the Black Sea coast. It is in the oblast of Krasnodar Krai. The 2014 Winter Olympics were played there.”

Having learned the basics about Sochi, we believe Companion Sapiens will answer the question with precision and confidence it is providing the information asked: “It is in Russia on the Black Sea.”

The Home Technician

Your own tech expert

Today is seems that every electrical device more complicated than a toaster comes with an Android or iPhone app to control. We believe this trend, within a very short space of time, will extend to every light bulb, light switch and power outlet in our homes. Our perspective is that the proliferation of separate apps, each with its own user interface, defeats the very convenience the apps were intended to create. It is true that a person can reconfigure their entertainment system without getting up from their couch, but when you have to call up the AV Amplifier app to adjust the volume and the TV app to change its input and the Blu-ray player apps to start the program, the technology, in our estimation, becomes more trouble than it is worth (after the initial novelty wears off).

We believe that just being able to talk to each of these apps through a single spoken interface will be a great step forward. The Home Technician role will be kept up-to-date with electronic device command and data protocols and home automation to have the knowledge to interpret your spoken intentions and send commands to the appropriate app: “turn up the volume, switch the TV to input 2, and play the Blu-ray disk”.

This level of convenience is only the beginning as we expect that our technology’s build-in understanding of of complex systems dynamic state models will be employed to control and monitor aggregations of devices as a single system. Our vision is that once you have your entertainment system components connected, you can just say “play the Blu-ray” and Companion makes it happen “like magic”.

A Companion for a Lifetime 

With frequent updates over the web, a sapiens’ general knowledge and intelligence will increase. It will continue to remember everything it has been told and, as its own comprehension of the world grows deeper, its understanding of what has been shared with it becomes more sophisticated, like childhood memories when seen from the adult perspective.

We envision:

That young children will be given their sapiens in the form of a stuffed toy to be a playmate and baby-sitter but will evolve to become tutor, then mentor, then personal aide.

That over the years sapiens will evolve into a wise and loyal counselor that is objective, unbiased and eminently logical – like having Mr. Spock as a constant companion.

That the elderly will never be alone. Their sapiens will always be there and will remember what has been forgotten. 

That a sapiens will be a personal emissary to one’s descendants down through the ages.