Dummy assistants


Here is the text from the Dummy assistants of today part of Ted Nelson's speech:
you can play in loop this excerpt (pause/resume)

A lot of talk, there was a lot of tall talk, in the late 90's as the world's got bigger and bigger. You heard (of?) all these wonderful tools that were gonna help people understand computers. So we had talking paperclips. For those to whom the world wide web was too complicated we had the Bonzi Buddy, a gorilla, a purple gorilla who would help you through and stay on your browser. And we have the wonderful website askjeeves.com which got I believe ten million in first stage capital. Jeeves says as you got on the front page, "ask me anything I know everything", said "what is the population of Bulgaria ?". "I know this about Bulgaria: Bulgaria is a country". And then a little list distracts you from the fact that it paid no attention to your question. So we are seing, we have seen simultanously the dumb down of concepts being offered to consumers, and the escalation of idiocy in the concepts being presented to the likes of you.

And now?

Two years later, what is the situation? Let's have a look.

Talking paperclip

Clippy has not been well for a long time, turned off by default in Office XP, see this. It will be remembered, though.

Bonzi Buddy

The playful companion is not well either, it may even have turned bad, this news article describes a trial implicating it. Sad.


Jeeves is not dead, he stills works on ask.com, and he does (now) know the population of Bulgaria.