Technological Grail Quest and some reviews too.

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This post is inspired by an article I read on KurzweilAI.net. The link to the article is How to Build a Virtual Human. The post that follows is a idea of what will eventually be developed in another post, at wicindgrouponline(dot)com.

In the development phase yet, I am working to produce a virtual assistant for a commercial web site that I and my wife operate. Key to this VA is that it must provide useful service and be unobtrusive to the people surfing the web site. It must also provide valuable information when asked, and be compliant with standards. Another key element will be that it is accessible to all types of people, including compliance with the ADA guidelines for web access.

My general disdain for client side scripting (although AJaX is coming around to changing that) and flash will put additional restraints on the process. I am very reluctant to use flash when I can use a server side application such as Java to do the same thing. My study of AJaX has provided me with some indication that client side scripting could become part of the site, but I still am working to discover the actual performance of client side scripting, even using server side processing of the application. The site being compliant with W3C standards for XHTML and utilization of PHP, will help to connect the site to the database needed to provide the data for the VA. Also the criteria to use only open source to build, render, or serve the website will put additional constraints on the web development. My wife currently works mostly in Microsoft Access Database design so that I must transfer the data coming into the web site and going out into MySQL compliance. I also have to consider security. I am aware that most people are not aware of the cookie system of the web, but I am. I am reluctant to use cookies, although to some extent to provide the necessary interactivity to the web site visitor it will be necessary to utilize some sort of presence and recognition application. As this will not be a simple process, it will be necessary to research further to find the way to perform these task and still maintain the integrity that I desire for the web site will be the result of further research.

The article above referenced provides a good introduction into the complexity of building a Virtual Assistant, for whatever the purpose. It also will help me to find the way to build one for my web site that will comply with my requirements.

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