The discussion in Chris's thread about Google's latest telephone bot made me want to start a conversation about personal agent software. Decades ago, I remember thinking, wouldn't it be nice if I had a program that could do stuff for me while looking out for my best interests? It would know my tastes and also know how to get the best airfares, make restaurant reservations, manage my finances, etc. The technology then was nowhere near ready, but now it's getting close. But the bigger picture is full of dragons.
I suppose the question comes down to this: is there a viable business model that could support a true personal agent, one that puts my interests above corporate shenanigans? I would be willing to pay for it, but It would need to be highly secure and trustworthy. I'm guessing that it would need to come from some sort of open-source based organization. But I have no idea whether this is even a viable concept in the age of the Apple/Amazon/Facebook/Google overlords.