A Considerate Computer

Microsoft Research tells us about some intelligent software able to make decisions on availability versus message importance. The workforce potentially loses lots of productive time attending to unimportant emails. Worse still, unimportant messages can cut into personal time. This system is designed to do the human part of risk analysis in order to determine whether a message is important at that point in time. The concept is really cool, though it’ll suck when spammers figure out how to take advantage of it. I’m also unsure how secretaries administrative assistants will like the idea of a piece of code replacing a big part of their jobs. Not that that’s all they do, but you get the point.

“The system knew what I was doing,” Horvitz said. “It knew that I was off with the kids having a good time, yet it did the cost-benefit analysis and it forwarded a single message to me.”

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