The changes brought about by the ubiquity of smart- phones and social media are just a small foretaste of changes to come. Soon people will be carrying devices
and working in environments that understand not only our
personal declarative and demographic facts (information
stored in datebooks, calendars, and social media) but also
have a deep understanding of the context and intent of our
day-to-day activities. The last 10 years have seen the development of novel architectures and technologies for domain-focused, task-specific systems that know many things, such
as who (identities, profile, history) they are with (social context) and in what role (responsibility, security, privacy); when
and where (event, time, place); why (goals, shared or personal); how are they doing it (methods, applications); and using
what resources (device, services, access, and ownership).
Smart spaces and devices will increasingly use such contextual knowledge to help users move seamlessly between
devices and applications, without having to explicitly carry,
transfer, and exchange activity context. Such systems will
qualitatively shift our lives both at work and play and significantly change our interactions both with our physical
and virtual worlds.
This dream of seamlessly interacting with our virtual environment has a long history as can be seen in Apple Inc.’s
Knowledge Navigator 1987 concept video. However, the
combination of dramatic progress in low-power mobile computing devices and sensors, with advances in artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction (HCI) in the last
decade, have provided the kind of platforms and algorithms
that are enabling context-aware virtual personal assistants
that plan activities and recognize intent. This has lead to an
increase in work designed to bring these ideas into real world
application and address the final technical hurdles that will
make such systems a reality.
Example research projects in this area include Patie Maes’s
Editorial Introduction to the Special Articles in the Summer Issue
Architectures for Activity Recognition
and Context-Aware Computing
Christopher Geib, Vikas Agrawal, Gita Sukthankar, Lokendra Shastri, Hung Bui
; This editorial to the summer 2015
AI Magazine introduces the special-issue articles on architectures for activity recognition and context-aware computing.