Apr 25, 2017 - Economy & Business

Apple exec: computers will help us recall every memory

Bret Hartman/TED

While many people look to artificial intelligence to replace humans with robots, a top Apple executive laid out a different vision on Tuesday. Speaking at the TED conference, AI expert (and Siri co-founder) Tom Gruber said computer smarts should be used to augment human failings, such as memory.

In the not-to-distant future, Gruber said computers should be able to help us remember every person we have met, every food we have eaten and how it made us feel.

"I can't say when or what form factors are involved, but I think it is inevitable," Gruber said.

Privacy, security are key: That much data could obviously be hugely useful to the individual, but also incredibly dangerous in the hands of governments or those with malicious intent. "We get to choose what is and is not recalled," he said. "It's absolutely essential that this be kept very secure."

The benefits to average people could be huge from such augmented memory, but a literal life-changer for the millions with dementia and Alzheimer's. It's the difference between life of isolation and a life of dignity and connection, he said.

Similarly, he told the story of Daniel, a blind, quadriplegic friend who uses Siri to meet people online.

"Here's a man whose relationship with AI helps him... with genuine human relationships," Gruber said.

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