It’s Time to Build the Platform of You
The missing link in modern computing isn’t a new AI or IoT platform, it’s a holistic platform built around the individual human life and experience. We can start today by reclaiming ownership of our virtual self and directly wielding the power of grid scale computing to navigate the real challenges of life.
Modern OS and Cloud Overlays are Broken
The evolution of the modern personal computing operating system (OS) has witnessed limited innovation. You still open folders, search for files, and click on anachronistic icons for system controls. Yes, everything looks nicer and runs faster, but not much has dramatically changed (Remember that last OS upgrade where they changed the fonts and screen layout? Yeah, that was awesome). If we peak under the hood, we’ll find the standard OSI stack that abstracts away the hardware in each computing device, traversing its way through traditional networking and storage layers, ultimately to the very top where we, as human users, finally have a chance to interact.
What has changed is distributed computing over the public internet. The average person spends more time in a browser window or mobile app than navigating traditional features or programs of a OS. Our laptops have become glorified netbooks, only unleashing their power when running demanding games or intensive design programs. Leading platforms have slowly shoe-horned in cloud computing into the OS but the results are less than stellar. We all hold our breath for the next wave of “innovation” while trusting benevolent caretakers of our data, lives, and interactions strewn across the Internet like shards of broken glass.
Remove the Friction: Authentic, Intimate and Deeply Connected Computing
There are two major forms of friction between myself and modern computing: 1) the intermediaries of my computing interactions and 2) the software overhead and complexity between my human life and computing resources.
Billions of dollars are expended each year attempting to guess what individuals want, desire, or need by capturing small glimpses into our interactions over social media, search engines, and web application engagement. These intermediaries are at odds with an authentic description of ourselves because they don’t contain the mechanisms to fully articulate who we are. And most would not trust sharing their intimate life details with a third party platform, incentivized to resell that information for revenue.
Even if we became comfortable with the concept of Facebook storing our social security number; telling Siri that we were recently diagnosed with a devastating illness; or asking someone at Google to periodically check in on our children and their well being; how and where do we centralize and harness those details into an engine for broader visibility and direction of our own lives? Even with advancements in open source software and infrastructure automation, the average person is not able to fully utilize the incredible amount of grid scale computing power to directly solve their problems in a highly personalized and context aware method.
Bots of Me: A New OS Framework
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I believe nature has already provided a road map for computing that more directly represents ourselves. As computing continues to represent more of our life, taking a page from our own biologic systems would bring significant changes in the current architecture of computing.
Instead of a hierarchical cell, tissue, organ framework our human bodies can be considered a container of floating ecosystems constantly interacting across a distributed system. In the same way, our virtual selves will begin to resemble a flattening container of complex distributed arrays of specialized software bots, coordinating to achieve higher levels of functionality.
A central bot OS framework would manage the coordination and provide the platform for capturing and instrumenting our human needs and interactions. Each morning we would wake up to review the status of our bot militia that autonomously and intelligently scours the internet and engages other bots to achieve and support our life goals. Those bots could be representations of human experts or larger AI platforms that in coordinated fashion deliver new insights in a highly automated and personalized way.
Multiplicity: What would you do with 10,000 copies of you?
Imagine a bot based platform that fully represented who you are. A platform that was aware of your most intimate and deeply held beliefs, fears, needs, and goals. Now imagine if you could send a high fidelity virtual copy of you with every request. Instead of directly searching through Google results just send a trusted copy of you to do that. What about purchases? Just send another copy of you to find that perfect gift, and don’t forget to embed some virtual currency to transact with. Advertisers don’t need to bother your human self with countless requests, they can just interact with a virtual copy of you.
And the best thing is, we don’t need a complex sentient AI framework to achieve this. We simply just tell our trusted and privately owned bots every single detail about ourselves.
As grid scale computing becomes more pervasive, infrastructure bots will enable the average person to spin up thousands of copies of themselves to conduct transient and long term persistent tasks. Following the current trends of micro services running in lightweight software containers, our human behaviors and actions can be programmed to occur right above bare metal computing resources, enabling significant levels of efficiency gain and reducing computing complexity.
We Can Do More
Building the platform of You holds significant implications and non-trivial challenges ranging across security, privacy, platform integrations, and market forces resistant to a more independently controlled representation of the individual. But the long term value of a platform that empowers and authentically represents individuals is well worth the effort to tackle those challenges.
This is a follow on article from a much headier and deeper look at the future of bots: https://medium.com/@emberslate/the-bots-are-here-2aafb2c36b28#.w8vwrdwjf