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A program for personal computers that builds compressed model of their user, by observing and compressing data about them, and asking questions to understand the user, to help user automate what the user does.
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The primary reason why we don't keep camera, audio, screen recorders and key-loggers on all the time, is that, while it is readily possible today, we lack disk space and processing power to compress the data collected, and it requires extra energy use, while we have limited battery life.

However, it is orders of magnitude cheaper to use pre-trained neural nets than it is to train them from scratch, and those models can cheaply compress complex pictures, videos, audios, etc. and store them as sequences of features on very tiny amount of disk space to keep a rich life- log about its user.

The primary reason why computers don't proactively ask us questions, is that they don't have a directive to model us. Reflectoputer would have a goal to build maximally accurate model of your self. So, additionally, -- use psychological research to build a generic human model, which captures most of what humans are like. (Human diversity is arguably quite limited (like the diversity of cats is), or like what MBTI tests show, covering broad set of aspirations with just 16 different core types of personalities with a few abstract dimensions to plot them), and all humans share a large bit of common traits that could be redundant, and so, could be used to compress model about humans (and get computers optimize for searching for something like a "sufficient statistic" for that model). Use the remaining peculiarities of the user's personality that doesn't fit the model -- as something that reflectoputer proactively asks questions in order to fill the gaps in the parametrization (or fitting) of human model (with user data). For example, certain questions from personality tests devised by psychologists can be quite useful to fill those gaps.

Then, observing repetitive works done by user, try to simulate inputs based on the model to gain confidence in automating user actions. If the sequence of actions produced by user coincides closely with the sequence predicted by the model built from past data, automatically ask user to permit automation of the user. (E.g., when confidence level exceeds certain threshold.) Do all that with local compute and data, without ever using cloud services.

This way, personal reflectoputer builds model of the user self by observing, recommending and asking, as well as helping user to build their life story.

Reflectoputers would be useful, as they would learn to automate you as you use them. Additionally, if you were to die, others could query your model. You wouldn't even have to write an autobiography.

While this may be quite WKTE in science fiction, the particular path of using pre-trained models to cheaply compress data to save space, in combination with building user's personality model through asking in addition to listening (e.g., current intelligent assistants do not proactively and randomly ask things about you, and they don't try to learn you and help you without explicit commands, but reflectoputers would), are the parts the combination of which may have not been readily pursued by academic research in the particular way I describe here. So, this idea is a concrete idea for a research paper and a computer program. I may be wrong, and it all may have been already done. Search is in progress.

Mindey, Apr 09 2020


       Ah, the human desire to have the computer system do something spontaneously personal without prior user knowledge.   

       This is a catch twentytwo. This reflectoputer could write this software the way you want, if you first had it.   

       Write a -puter, a small self writing piece of code* that has all system overview access. Over time and alteration, there will either be the obtaining of a reflectoputer or just great reflection.   

       * Knowing the initial differencing rules and boundaries would be key.
wjt, Apr 09 2020

       I don't think I want a computer that tries to anticipate my searches.   

       Too open to abuse by hackers official or otherwise.   

       Oh wait... that's what we have now.   

       No, your right [2fries], we don't want webcam computation that knows moods.
wjt, Apr 09 2020

       "I" don't want webcam computation that 'knows' a single friggin thing about me.   

       Don't rightly remember being consulted on that though...   

       go figure   

       //Reflectoputers would be useful, as they would learn to automate you as you use them.//   

       This reminds me of the famous sysadmin's threat, "Go away, or I will replace you with a simple shell script".
pertinax, Apr 09 2020

       Nobody owns you. They may own leverage on you but free will is an asset you will always have. Free to act on the will, sometimes not so much.
wjt, Apr 09 2020

       // This reminds me of the famous sysadmin's threat, "Go away, or I will replace you with a simple shell script". //   

       ... or in your case, a single command followed by a couple of arguments and some modifiers.   

       root:rm /usr/pertinax -rds
8th of 7, Apr 09 2020

       I like it, and the reflectoputer could even upload models to the cloud to be processed by an even bigger AI to make better models, anonymously or purposefully as the actual human prefers,
beanangel, Apr 09 2020

       ... until we Assimilate you.
8th of 7, Apr 09 2020

       Free enterprise, right? A bank doesn't have to do business with you unless you agree to its terms. And none of the apartment agencies in your area have to rent you a place. It belongs to them and if you want to rent you'll need to prove you have a bank account. No company has to hire you, if you want to work for them you'll need to give them your ID, which you can obtain for a reasonable fee. You'll also have to give them your cell phone number, which you can obtain simply by paying for one and agreeing to the 40 pages of small print. Oh no, you don't NEED a cell phone, no one is forcing you to get one. Just have an apartment and a land line, which you can get by signing a contract with your local phone company. The contract has 50 pages of small print but everyone is doing it. Or you could sign an entire binder of small print and buy a house. You do have the down payment right?   

       Your privacy and autonomy are yours to starve with. Toot toot! All aboard the Ayn Rand express!
Voice, Apr 09 2020

       A paranoid person might think that this idea has already been baked by several world-power spy agencies, but there's no evidence to support this.
sninctown, Apr 09 2020

       What evidence ? There never was any evidence. The dear little proles in the Ministry of Truth have seen to that.   

       You're clearly a victim of false memory syndrome. But don't worry, treatments are available, and very effective.
8th of 7, Apr 09 2020


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