Have you ever thought about how much machine intelligence affects your life today? If not, don’t be surprised: if «ambient intelligence» is done right, you really shouldn’t have a clue — that’s the point.
Ambient Intelligence (stylized as AmI) is a new way of thinking about human-computer interaction that is characterized by embedded devices, wearables, and the passive adaptation of technology to your needs. AmI’s goal is for technology to maximize its usefulness while minimizing your attention. In other words, AmI tries to be invisible by extracting data from the environment in order to make intelligent, useful decisions for you without you having to ask.
This new paradigm is obviously powerful, but it also comes with its own risks and challenges. As the devices in your world get to know your life in more detail, they also get to know your life in more detail . You might appreciate it if your technology automatically responds to an intimate moment by dimming the lights and changing the music, but you might be uncomfortable with the idea of a large corporation like Google knowing when and where your love life is.
What can ambient intelligence do
The second is big data analytics and increasingly powerful artificial intelligence tools that can absorb the flood of data from all these sensors and devices and turn it into useful information that can be used to drive beneficial behavior without human intervention.
Imagine, for example, buying Wi-Fi-enabled speakers that you can place in your home to handshake with smartphones via Bluetooth and select playlists according to what they predict every person in the room will enjoy. Imagine a smart thermostat and lighting controller that has a statistical model of how you behave at different times and in different situations and selectively lights and controls the climate in your home according to your mood and comfort level, while conserving energy.
Imagine a world where you treat your smartphone less as it filters out meaningless alerts and hands over the rest to wearables that alert you without distracting you. Imagine mobile devices and computers that know what you are doing and automatically adapt the interface depending on the context. During a meeting, your phone should behave differently than at home when you’re watching Netflix.
Imagine wearables that tell you what you want to know before you want to know them, always ready to offer you options if you’re stuck, frustrated, or simply bored. A movie that you enjoy playing next to you? An old friend in town for a day? AmI is aware of and may use this information to your advantage.
It goes beyond these simple things though. Software becomes much cleverer. In a couple of years, your phone can give you real-time legal advice, or act as an acting doctor who knows your medical history and tweaks your restaurant and shopping recommendations to keep you healthy. Or it can detect when you’re having a heart attack or asthma attack and respond intelligently by calling emergency services for you.
Ambient Intelligence Cost
Ambient intelligence is a nightmare of privacy. The more useful the software, the worse it is for your privacy. Even though demographic targeting companies currently have relatively impoverished data available, they can still infer an alarming amount about you.