Hal is using real people to give users a digital assistant that is actually helpful
*insert clever 2001: A Space Odyssey pun here*
It seems you can’t walk out of your door without hearing someone invoking their digital assistant, but are the responses any good? AI is getting better, sure, but nothing beats local knowledge and the AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have a ways to go yet. Even Google’s Assistant, with their vast troves of information, can’t hope to match the brain of a resident of a place for insider knowledge. Crowdsourcing services such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk realized that some tasks are just accomplished better by a real, live human.
But what if we combined them?
That’s the thinking behind the new digital assistant app, Hal.
Taken directly from Hal’s website:
Why try to turn a computer into a human when there’s a lot of us out there? Hal will be your everyday personal assistant, and it’s not a machine.
You pay for movies, apps and music when you could have them for free. Why not pay for an around the clock personal assistant who gives you refined human curated web content for everything?….
The average monthly wage for a full-time personal assistant is $2379.2, so Hal’s $7.99 monthly rate is an absolute steal. I mean, it won’t get your dry cleaning for you, but if you need questions answered about someone or something, even in specific locations, then Hal can help. Need a pizza in an unfamiliar town and want to steer away from a bad slice? Ask Hal, and a local will answer your query. Want to know which beaches are nicest in a particular vacation spot? Hal will pose the question to a vast network of real, human contributors and answers will be delivered back to you.
Basically, what Hal is doing is creating an assistant-style app that sources knowledge from those that want to contribute (and get paid) for helping users of the platform.
Here’s Hal in action: