The other day, I was thinking: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a voice-activated personal assistant that DIDN’T funnel all my personal information to an invasive corporation?”
Silly rabbit, I told myself. Who would make such a thing? Wouldn’t a great deal of tech skill and server power be required? Without the profit motive, where could they be found?
Nevertheless, in a fit of blind optimism, I did a quick search and found Mycroft. Huzzah! My dream was real!
Mycroft — named for the older, smarter brother of Sherlock Holmes — is an open-source AI that takes voice commands and speaks in a British accent. You can install it on your own machine, or pay for the Mycroft Mark 1, a cute little gadget that has been funded through Kickstarter.
Giddy with excitement, I quickly downloaded the software, installed it on an SD card, and got it running on a Raspberry Pi. It works! But it doesn’t do very much…yet. And it runs a bit slowly…so far. The hope is that open-source developers the world over will rise to the challenge of making apps/skills for Mycroft, making it smarter and faster. I hope this happens. I mean, if a bunch of strangers can make a comprehensive international encyclopedia, why not?
By the way, somebody should ask Stephen Fry to be the voice of Mycroft. I bet he would do it.