Is there anything more attention-getting than a software exec gushing about the future when we finally get speech recognition working to perfection? This article in the online Guardian delivers an interview with an unnamed (for obvious reasons) exec at Microsoft who touts virtual secretaries as an application of avatar+speech reco technology. Thanks to Todd Chapin for forwarding this article.
The Guardian reporter is suitable skeptical, which is a nice change from most articles that deal with these sorts of predictions. To get this to work right Microsoft will need to have solved the general AI problem, which is to produce a human-level-or-better intelligence in a machine. If that happens Microsoft won't be wasting its time producing virtual assistants.
When I try to visualize the avatar the exec is talking about, I get an image of the funny Oddcast avatar that I'd written about previously.