Day 6

This is your brain on cognitive assistance

From struggling to locate car keys to blanking on a colleague's name, there are plenty of face-palm moments when a personal assistant would really come in handy. But what if that assistant wasn't a person at all — but a computer? Neuroscientist and IBM master inventor James Kozloski has patented the technology for a memory-enhancing, voice-in-your head 'cognitive assistant' that he hopes could improve the lives of Alzheimer's patients. Brent chats with James about his invention, and whether this kind of technology could change the way our brains work.
An IBM inventor is developing technology for a computerized 'cognitive assistant' based on how memory works in the human brain. (Shutterstock)
Listen9:37

Artificial intelligence technology isn't yet sophisticated enough to bring us the sort of thinking, feeling computer depicted in the Spike Jonze film Her — but researchers at IBM are poised to bring us one step closer. Neuroscientist and master inventor James Kozloski has patented the technology for a memory-enhancing computer system that he describes as a "cognitive assistant." Modeled on human memory, it would use a combination of surveillance and machine learning to recognize our hesitation when we forget — in order to remind us where we left our keys in the morning, or even finish our sentences.

A prototype is likely years away. But James believes his technology could be life-changing for people with diseases like Alzheimer's — or anybody looking to enhance their memory. Brent chats with James about his invention, and what kind of an impact the technology might have on our brains.