Need help managing your calendar and all the work you need to do? Bill Gates is here to help.
In an “Ask Me Anything” question and answer session on Reddit today, Gates revealed that he’s working on a “Personal Agent” project at Microsoft that’s designed to help people get work done by automatically and intelligently providing them with reminders and tools they need.
“One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to,” Gates wrote. “The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model – the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices.”
Gates left day-to-day duties at Microsoft in 2008 and stepped down as chairman last year when Satya Nadella became CEO. At the same time, he revealed that he would be spending about a third of his time working as an adviser at the company he co-founded, with a particular focus on “ambitious scenarios.”
This certainly seems to fit the bill. The project seems like it would fit in nicely to Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant, which is coming to the desktop with Windows 10. Cortana already integrates with a user’s email, calendar, reminders and knows what someone is interested in. Connecting all of that information with a system that could intelligently direct people’s attention to what they need to know would be a significant boost for Cortana’s capabilities.
The concept of a virtual personal assistant is something that Microsoft has been working on for a while. Eric Horvitz, a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research and the director of the company’s Redmond lab, created a virtual executive assistant to field his calls and manage his schedule in 2009.