Hardware we could have built for the last 10 years, and really unobtrusive. You'd need better UI and software than with video, since information needs to be more closely tailored for a lower bitrate channel, but I think Google (or a smart startup) could do it.
99% of the reasons I use video are because I need to do the filtering and postprocessing in my head. If I had complete trust in a great software agent, I could just let it tell me what to do, vs. showing me enough data to make a decision. e.g. for driving, you can give directions by voice (if you're a talented codriver) which do NOT require any visual information to the driver during a high-speed rally. Almost no car nav systems are that smart, but if Google can build a self-driving car, they should be able to make an awesome codriver/navigator.
Extends to almost anything. I don't need to see a picture of someone and a dossier; just remind me of the most critical facts as needed, by voice.
This should be just as good as having a clone of yourself, or an entire team of ops people, watching/listening to what you do, and giving you voice prompts, just like a video game, or being the President on TV in a live debate, or whatever.
The hardware is trivial; it's all software and back-end processing, which Apple sucks at and Google/Amazon/Startup should rock at.
To expand: Big companies may have the need for very talented particulars, like Peter Norvig, who can drive innovation over big teams and have a very precise mind, and all the humility required. But in the case of Kurzweil, it looks more like he is invited to play the clown and amuse the assistance, than to lead anything concrete.
...it looks more like he is invited
to play the clown and amuse the assistance,
[rather] than to lead [to] anything concrete.
Some great scientists, some ho-hum and some that are there mostly for political or other reasons. I mean Wozniak in 1979? What had he done at that point to be in the same list with Knuth or even Bill Joy?
Since you invoke the list, are we to expect the same great stuff from Kurzweil in Google, as we got from Wozniak post 1979, Richard Stallman past 1990 and Stroustrup past 1993?
Woz was largely responsible for designing the Apple I & Apple II, both of which played a pretty significant part in starting the entire PC industry. Seems like a pretty spectacular achievement to me.
It should support something more reliable than SCO and an input touchpad like Glass. It would also make sense to have some of the initial NLP processing in the device, or even a full ARM processor like the Glass running arbitrary applications.
You would be able to make calls through an offloaded cell phone using a more advanced profile than SCO HS.
If I could remove the device and place it on the car visor to use as a noise-cancelling speakerphone like the Motorola Bluetooth unit I have, even better.
I pitched exactly that idea to Logitech & Inria in Switzerland about 15 years ago and I agree with you, we could have done that long ago and it is one of the best interfaces that you could have. Think 'personal assistant'.
The general idea was to simply open a voice channel with a server farm somewhere that listens to your ambient audio and pics up cues / clicks and responds with audio.
The project stranded on privacy concerns, and on speech decoding issues that Inria foresaw would be hard to overcome.