A New IBM’s Patent Could Help you Google your Own Memories When Needed!

A New IBM’s Patent Could Help you Google your Own Memories When Needed!


So many times, we meet a person – whose name we may not remember. Or, even if we know the name, we don’t know where we met him or her. Sounds familiar? Now, a patent from IBM could help us with that!

A New IBM's Patent Could Help you Google your Own Memories When Needed! Click To Tweet

An inventor at IBM has filed a patent that could take human memory and make it available for “data mining”, retrieval and analysis. Imagine having a SIRI cum Google Search for your brain memory that could provide you with the answers in real time. Using movement trackers or wearables like Fitbit or WiFi-connected microphones.

“Human memory is not the same as computer memory,” said James Kozloski, an inventor at IBM who focuses on computational and applied neuroscience. “We don’t have pointers. We don’t have addresses where we can just look up the data we need.”

Kozloski wants to change that. He recently filed a patent for technology that, in the simplest terms, will help finish your sentences for you. Like autocomplete for your voice, the system is a model of human memory that could be embedded in a device and offer prompts when necessary. It would use a combination of surveillance, machine learning, and Bayesian inference—a kind of predictive modeling—to recognize when a person has forgotten something, then provide the missing information.

“The idea is quite simple,” Kozloski told me. “You monitor an individual’s context, whether it’s what they’re saying or what they’re doing … and you predict what comes next.”

Work on Cognitive Assistants has been ongoing for quite a few years. Apple’s SIRI was a step in that direction.

CALO was an artificial intelligence project that attempted to integrate numerous AI technologies into a cognitive assistant. CALO is an acronym for “Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes”. The name was inspired by the Latin word “calonis,” which means “soldier’s servant”. The project started in May 2003 and ran for five years, ending in 2008.

The CALO effort has had many major spin-offs, most notably the Siri intelligent software assistant that is now part of the Apple iOS since iOS 5 in the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5 and the New iPad; Social Kinetics, a social application that learned personalized intervention and treatment strategies for chronic disease patients, sold to RedBrick Health; the Trapit project, which is a web scraper and news aggregator that makes intelligent selections of web content based on user preferences; Tempo AI, a smart calendar; Desti, a personalized travel guide; and Kuato Studios, a game development startup.

This patent takes the world of cognitive assistants to a whole new level! This could be most useful for people suffering from short term memory loss – like Alzheimer’s.

Such a system could help caregivers track how people are doing over time—are they forgetting important tasks more frequently?—and “perhaps prevent side effects of what are otherwise sort of innocuous episodes of forgetting,” Kozloski said. “Like getting confused, getting agitated, then putting myself at a greater risk.”

The abstract of the patent by inventors James R. Kozloski, Clifford Pickover, Irina Rish.

A system and an article of manufacture for providing a prompt for real-time cognitive assistance include analyzing input from at least one environmental sensor to identify context information pertaining to a user situation, identifying a likely subsequent cognitive task of the user in the user situation based on the context information and use of a learned model, determining an action with respect to information to be suggested to the user via a corresponding prompt, wherein the determining is based on the likely subsequent cognitive task, the context information and information learned from at least to one previous user situation, computing a confidence value to represent a level of certainty in the action, and providing the prompt to the user if the action has a confidence value greater than a threshold value corresponding to the action.

While this Cognitive SIRI or assistant does seem as if we are becoming more of machines, but for those who cannot retrieve their memories due to some illness, this could be a god-send!

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