Rant: Where are the real internet assistants?

OK, Google.
Alexa, help.
Hey, Siri.
Fuck you, Bixby.

There are these so-called assistants that the big internet companies like Google and Amazon are providing us with, that you use by issuing voice commands to smart speakers or mobile phones.

You can use these to, I don’t know (because I don’t use them), order movie tickets or find Uber rides? No fucking clue, because a) I don’t want to issue *voice* commands to an AI that tries to help me, b) I want to give commands in plain writing and c) I don’t trust any assistant to help me until we have a mutual agreement on what we can tell each other to do.

The assistant, in other words, needs to be someone I trust to do the things I want it to do and it needs to be *my* friend, or rather my property, not the ally of the company that supplies it to me.

Complaint #1: No Master and Slave -relationship

Although I denounce slavery completely, when it comes to AI:s I want them to *love me* and stay true to me like a dog. That is one issue with the assistants that big companies push on us “for free”, as I can’t be certain of where their loyalties live.

You need to have complete control of the data the AI uses on your behalf in order to understand why the AI does what it does and how to improve its search results as well.

Problem is, I can’t trust Alexa to do the best thing on my behalf if it is owned by Amazon – the assistant should not be loyal to a company that created it but to *me*, it’s owner.

Complaint #2: Assistants focus on commercial aspects

I want an assistant to fetch me data from all kinds of sources, not just shops and services. Say, I want to know what the COVID-19 situation is in a certain country currently; the assistant should know how to fetch the data from international and local sources and patch me a resume of what I want to know.

An other thing is, if I want an scientific article – or several – on a certain subject, the assistant would need to fetch me the most important ones from all the possible sources and if I have access through work to the services providing full text pdf:s, the assistant should download those into a folder for me as well.

I haven’t found this kind of functionality yet, but that it was internet assistants *should* fucking do… not try to sell me services I don’t need.

Complaint #3: Assistants aren’t platform independent individuals that live on my device

Assistants should be platform independent so you can export your preferences to any platform you want as time changes and the platforms too. My preferences, which the assistant-AI learns from my choices, are crucial and should not be wasted as time goes by. The AI should have a name of my choice and a constantly evolving personality that grows as I do. Starting over from scratch on every different platform is not fruitful. At least there should be a separate, transferable open database file that every new piece of assistant software can assimilate and use when I switch platforms.

I also want the assistant to serve me the same across platforms, and not favour one platform over another. Loyalty is really what I’m talking about. I want my “Alexa” to live on even if Amazon would nix it, so it should be Open Source. It’s my assistant, not the company’s.

So, there are some initial thoughts on what internet assistants should be like… we are pretty far away from that still, aren’t we?