The Mycroft approach to building a general purpose artificial intelligence is simple – build a framework that is easy to use then encourage the open source community develop, contribute and share skills.
The idea is to expand the usefulness of the AI by adding thousands of skills. Want Mycroft to answer your front door? You can contribute a skill that allows you to tell Mycroft a visitor is expected, then unlock the door when that visitor arrives. Combine it with another user’s facial recognition skill and you end up with a solution that identifies your visitor, welcomes them by name, then unlocks the door.
If creating a new skill was as simple as writing a sentence, Mycroft would already have the ability to answer your door. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy….yet.
One goal here at Mycroft is to make it that easy, but we are a long way from achieving our objective. There is a ton of code to be developed and we have a lot to learn about deploying a large scale and robust framework. There are going to be false starts and we are going to learn a lot of lessons along the way – some the hard way.
Our plan is to incrementally develop and deploy a set of tools that allows even basic computer users to build new Mycroft skills.
Right now only elite coders like Sean and Jonathan are able to deploy new skills. They are hard at work on the overall framework while at the same time developing the 20 core skills the Mycroft team promised our Kickstarter backers.
As our team begins to release code into the open source community we plan to provide documentation, examples and tools that make it increasingly easy for developers to contribute to the project. We plan to have the code ready for professional developers by April 2016 when we start shipping CF cards and 3D printed units.
By July 2016 when we begin to deliver production Mycroft devices, we plan to have the software ready for hackers and makers. That means having extensive documentation and examples online and available.
As we begin to mature as a company and release Mycroft versions for the Ubuntu desktop, Windows, Apple and Android we will start to deploy tools that make it possible for less technical users to develop skills. This is going to require a lot of development. We envision an interface similar to IFTTT or code.org, but won’t have a firm grasp on the actual presentation of these tools until we get the framework fully fleshed out.
Our overarching goal is to make it possible for any computer user to develop skills for the Mycroft platform. Eventually even novice computer users will be able to teach Mycroft a skill, contribute it to the community and share it world wide.
By making it easy to contribute skills, we hope to empower Mycroft users to expand and enhance the software creating an entity that has the same skills as a human. Eventually Mycroft will be able to recognize your face, answer your door, process your e-mail and play become an integral part of your digital and physical world.
Mycroft’s First Officer, a serial entrepreneur and Air Force Officer, Joshua brings more than 15 years of leadership experience to the Mycroft team. He is a strong supporter of the open ethos, net neutrality and consumer privacy. Joshua lives in Holualoa, Hawaii with his wife and co-founder Kris Adair.