Someday, we'll all have a personal assistant who is always just a voice prompt away.

A bit like Alexa or the Assistant on the Google Home speaker, but more like the bot in the movie Her, this “always on” servant will work in the car, when we’re at work, walking in a park on a sunny day, and at home. It won’t be a speaker that sits on the desk. Instead, it will be an ever-vigilant presence. It will follow you like a bodyguard at a Beyonce meet-up.

The problem is that we haven’t quite invented it yet. For an ever-present bot to work, it would have to know our location at all times. It wouldn’t be on our phone, because we won’t carry phones in the future. The bot would just “exist” in space. At work, the bot would know we’re in a conference room or at our desks. It might work through a gadget, the speakers in the room, or on a television but it will also work through the entertainment system in our cars. The device won’t matter. It will just work. The important part of the equation is not related to the gadget or speaker we’re using, but our location.

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