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The walls will have ears (and a brain)

15 May 2013

Predictive computing and search is set to be one of the creepier technology breakthroughs of recent history. Google Now can give you traffic information and weather reports it believes are relevant based on what it knows about past behaviours, and now three major technology firms have each invested in start up Expect Labs which develops technology that listens to what is said in a room and presents information that the speakers might be interested in.

Telefonica, Samsung and Intel have announced a strategic investment in the company which had previously released an app called MindMeld. Google Now has met with pretty wide praise from users but it does stop somewhat short of listening in on your conversations.

However to my mind MindMeld or something similar might be really interesting in a corporate setting as a virtual aide to meetings and conference, perhaps predictively lowering blinds or switching sources in a meeting room, or starting a lecture capture cycle automatically. Clearly there are some relatively scary privacy issues with any such solutions, but with three such large players in the mix, I would be surprised if nothing came of it.

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