Microsoft Research's 'virtual receptionist' prototype, an early application of the personal agent concept.
Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie are among the inventors listed on the patent for an "intelligent personalized agent," issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It isn’t a new initiative: company applied for the patent in Sep 2006, and the app made news two years ago. But the granting of patent could put Microsoft in an interesting position if the world heads in this direction. The title of the patent is "Dynamic environment evaluation and service adjustment based on multiple user profiles including data classification and information sharing with authorized other users." These excerpts from the patent filing do a better job of describing the potential. “An intelligent personalized agent (e.g., guardian angel) monitors and evaluates a user's environment to assist in decision-making processes on behalf of user. Such implementation may be presented in the form of a software assisted mind amplifier. Amplifier analyzes preferences and predicts future actions based on analysis. For e.g., if a user’s at a shopping mall, guardian angel can evaluate surrounding environment with respect to user's own attributes and preferences and determine or infer that the time of day is noon, the user hasn’t eaten lunch, and there’re no pending appointments at the moment.[…]”