Microsoft has applied for a patent which could mean the above lady could soon be out of a job.
Their patent for “Automatic capture of information from audio data and computer operating context” would have an AI listening in on your every conversation, listening out for the trigger word, which would then cause it to start taking notes from an audio conversation and then dumping the resulting text into a note taking application, where everything would be appropriately timestamped and labelled with context such as location, participants etc.
Like any good personal assistant the AI would not just transcribe the meeting, but also action appropriate items, such as schedule follow-up meetings or add assigned tasks to your ToDo and Calendar apps.
Microsoft is of course already practising the latter via their integration with Outlook, where Cortana will automatically offer to add commitments you made in an email to your ToDo list.
The lead inventor is Marc Pottier, previously Principal Lead Program Manager for Cortana and Proactive Experience (Bing) and currently Lead Product Manager, Microsoft Teams Voice, Presence and People Experiences, where he notes:
My team owns voice communications, People and Presence. It’s an area that’s ripe for disruption and our team is rethinking the way voice can be used to bring teams together, accelerate understanding, and help geographically dispersed teams feel connected and engaged. We’re also exploring how to use the content of people’s conversations to build personalized experiences which enable them to feel on top of what’s happening in the workplace. We hope to transform how people discover what other people are working on, learn about their background and experiences, and accelerate the pace of communications in the enterprise.
While the technology is of course very interesting it is also somewhat creepy, but given the proliferation of ambient computing and smart speakers, it will probably only be a question of time before we see this productivity feature show up in our offices.