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Developing Internal AI Systems

Arnav Kapur Considers AI Devices That Can Augment Human Cognition

— October 17, 2019 — Keynote Trends
Arnav Kapur works on Internal AI systems at the MIT Media Lab, which has notably developed the AlterEgo device. AlterEgo is an AI assistant that is able to augment human cognition, due to its ability to integrate human and machine intelligence.

During his keynote, Kapur explains how we tend to view computers as external devices. However, this could be changing due to systems like AlterEgo. Kapur outlines that AlterEgo operates by tapping into a person's internal vocalizations, and then translates those vocalizations into computer commands. The system is also able to provide answers to the user through an earpiece. The AlterEgo system is a sticker with silicone parts that sits on the user's neck and jawline.

After explaining the device, Kapur holds a demo of the AlterEgo system, at which point he asks a user to find the local weather. The user is able to silently search for the local weather and provide an answer.

Kapur goes on to elaborate on how the system could benefit those with speaking challenges. AlterEgo was even used by an ALS patient to communicate, with Kapur showing clips of this during the keynote.

Kapur also states how the goal is for the system to get smaller over time, even to the point where it cannot be seen at all. Arnav Kapur's final goal for the technology is for it to be completely integrated, “I believe computing, AI, and the internet would disappear into us—as extensions of our cognition instead of being external entities or adversaries,” said Kapur.

Image Credit: TED Fellow Arnav Kapur