Yesterday at Dreamit day, when Winston was described as an audio assistant to present stories from social networks like Facebook, I picked up my phone to play games until the presentation was over. I could not have been less interested. Really? An app so that I can find out that one friend hates his commute and that another friend had a great weekend, without all that tedious mouse scrolling of my Facebook feed?
(Also, whenever developers say their new product is “Siri-like” I immediately picture Harold, talking into his phone and scowling in frustration.)
Then the Winston app narrated Facebook news in an Alfred butler voice, beginning with good morning, and listing off the major events that were due to happen that day. The weather is lovely today! You’ve got an event at seven! It was kind of amazing, because Winston was exactly like the MeChip butler I installed in Heroes Rise! We live in the future!
Winston is still in alpha, but the finished version promises to have algorithms to detect the most significant stories of a social network, so you’d hear updates from close connections, major news from connections, breaking industry news, local weather and relevant headlines. It’s easy to see this replacing the early-morning scroll of social sites and news blogs.
Still, it was not hard to imagine Winston glitching and reciting, over and over, Your close friend shared George Takei’s photo. Another friend shared George Takei’s photo. Some guy you used to work with shared George Takei’s photo. Or maybe Good morning, Meg! You have 307 farms to water, 148 horses to groom, 204 Unstable Iso-8 to send back, 37 cows to receive, 87 hammers due to Sim friends, 43 energies to send back, and Stick is ahead of you in Words With Friends.
I kind of love living in the future.