Vinclu Inc is a Japanese company that aims to mix the Internet of Things (IoT) with holograms and virtual reality assistant software into one device.
Many tech leaders, including Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, noted that they expect to see artificial intelligence assistants helping them with house chores or office duties, and vinclu Inc. showcases this idea in a very compelling way.
The Japanese startup, although young, is nothing short of ambitious when it comes to Gatebox, its upcoming product.
Gatebox will emulate the functions featured in Amazon's Echo, but it will add something extra: a fully holographic, interactive, AI personality to interact with.
However, those who instantly pictured a Jarvis-like character from the "Iron Man" franchise should tune down their enthusiasm. Although it sports a wide set of features, Azuma Hikari, the AI that turns Gatebox from a gadget into a gadget with personality, still has limits.
On the upside, Azuma Hikari can work her way around the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, so you may ask her to tune in to your favorite sports channel, modify the intensity of the air conditioning, set the lights according to your mood, read your email, play the music you enjoy, and even tweak the heating of your automatic bathtub.
That is, if you have a smart home equipped with all of the above.
One vital concept behind Gatebox is that is should crack the door between the virtual universe and reality, integrating our lives in the digitalized environment. Or is it the other way around?
It might be a while until the predictions from sci-fi movies such as "Her" and "Ex Machina" come to life, but Gatebox might just be one of the first decisive steps in that direction.
One reason to say this is that Gatebox comes embedded with behavior-learning technology, which means that the AI will map its owners' habits and respond to them in an appropriate fashion. One of the purposes of the company is to develop Azuma's personality in such a way that she can be on the same wavelength with its user.
Vinclu announced that a crowdfunding campaign is in the works, and it hopes to start taking pre-orders for the Gatebox as late as the end of 2016. One highly anticipated addition consists of a larger set of characters to interact with, as the Azuma variant from the presentation video might be a bit too anime for some users.
Vinclu released a concept video that helps future Gatebox clients get a better grasp on how the final product will look and feel like. You may check it out, below.
Gatebox is not the first AI assistant to rival popular choices such as Siri, Cortana and Google Now.
Last year, a new artificial intelligence platform dubbed Amelia was reported as being highly successful in a myriad of market fields. The platform outclassed various existing virtual assistant platforms due to a few factors.
First of all, Amelia understands language semantics, allowing it to find solutions in a pattern similar to a human mind. Its machine learning mechanism gives it the ability to probe 300 problems in only 30 seconds, while simultaneously learning by observing how human agents and customers interact.
The team behind Amelia points out that its platform is designed to actually understand human behavior, not just mimic it like other artificial intelligence systems do. The process of creating the virtual assistant was painstakingly long, due to the complex science behind it.
"Looking at how are we able to do things like reasoning, understanding, learning, leveraging our posterior and anterior cortex. The science was complicated enough that we wrote no code for the first decade," said Ergun Ekici, VP of emerging technologies at IPsoft.
Gatebox's Azuma can learn a thing or two about the human-AI interaction from Amelia, and we can only hope a cooperation between Vinclu Inc. and IPsoft will lead to interesting results.
Until then, drop by our comment section and let us know what tasks and activities would you delegate to an AI virtual assistant.