Problem 28 – No Time to Plan



Sometimes, things happen quite spontaneously, or there might be things you forgot to consider. For example, you could suddenly decide to visit a friend one day and then realise you haven’t got anything to eat. You could then use the personal assistant on your phone to find places to eat, but it will only show you the places closest to you at that time and it won’t necessarily be places you like. A place you like might then be too far away and a compromise will have to be made.

Possible Solution


I think that artificial personal assistants can get a lot smarter and that they are only just in their premature stage at the moment. One way I think they can get smarter is by getting the ability to plan your entire day ahead for you.

This can start by just asking the user what their plans for the day are after they wake up, perhaps when they’re having breakfast. Over time it can learn any potential patterns the user has, for example working 9 to 5 on weekdays or doing grocery shopping every Saturday.

It can then tell the user things like traffic information, weather and even possible places to eat or things to cook. In the evenings it can then recommend films or TV series to watch. If the user does something spontaneous, they can either tell the assistant or the assistant can detect that they are going to a specific location and then suggest places to eat along the way, or things to do when they get there.

Just telling the assistant that you plan to get to a specific location by a certain time can then allow it to calculate the exact leaving time to account for other activities such as eating. It can then help you build a schedule that fits comfortably around what you want to do while also allowing you to get what you need to do done.

Of course there is the issue with privacy if the device is constantly listening and sending the data to a server to analyse. Some people might also dislike the intrusiveness or dependence we will have on technology if it decides everything that we do.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.

Problem 21 – What to Wear?



Sometimes we just can’t decide what to wear and it might take a long time to lay our clothes out in front of us just to pick one and put the rest back.

Possible Solution


If artificial intelligence could help us pick sets of clothes that match, and even learn from our style then it could take away the need for us to decide what to wear. In order for it to be able to do this, it will have to know what clothes we currently have. It can do this by taking a photo of the clothes we put into our wardrobe and drawer. It will then require an algorithm to determine what colours and styles match.

Once it has determined how it could match the clothes it will require an interface to display the results to us when we want to know. This can be done on our phone or tablet, but we will not be able to see how it looks on us. Another possibility would be to show it on a mirror that has a camera which can track the user. It can then overlay the clothes on the user’s body in the display on the mirror. The user can then use gesture controls to switch between different outfits. The problem will be that the user will still have to find the clothes after picking a set.

The user can also specify the occassion the outfit is for and the AI can then adjust its recommendations based on this. It also means that outfits can be picked ahead of time and then reminded to the user when the time comes.

Clothes shopping can also be built into this if retailers allow their clothes to be able to be downloaded and tried on by users in their own homes. It can then also work out the user’s size and even order the clothes straight away.

As always, if you think you have a solution or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.