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Apple CEO Tim Cook wants to weave artificial intelligence deeply into our lives, and he’s ready for a cashless society. The iPhone and Mac maker’s planned research center in Japan will play a role in those plans, and the country could be at the forefront of plans to push Apple Pay as the standard for a no-cash world.
Mr. Cook is currently touring Japan ahead of the December opening of Apple’s Yokohama advanced research and development center. He told the Nikkei Asian Review the facility will focus on “deep engineering.” He add that artificial intelligence, or AI, crosses all products and is used “in ways that most people don’t even think about.”
Instead of making users more aware of what AI is doing for them, he sees a future where it handles tasks transparently, like remembering where your car is parked, or suggesting songs you’ll likely enjoy.
The AI concept Mr. Cook described is less C-3PO or Tony Stark’s J.A.R.V.I.S. and is more behind the scenes intelligent task manager. In essence, an AI we don’t have to think about interacting with, and that is far more proactive than reactive.
That doesn’t mean Apple is off the hook for improving Siri. The company’s spoken interface platform is currently seen as lagging behind Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana, and no matter how good Apple’s AI is at anticipating our needs we’ll still need an effective way to interact with it.
Hopefully Apple is working on an AI system that excels at anticipating our needs and interacts with us in a natural and human way.
Don’t show me the money
Mr. Cook also sees Apple Pay as the future of a cashless society, and Asian markets as the catalyst. The iPhone 7 is gaining support for Japan’s FeliCa contactless payment standard this month, which just the next step in moving away from cash.