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The time has long since passed when artificial intelligence (AI) transitioned from sci-fi to the real world.

We don’t yet have a HAL 9000 plotting against humans, terminators traveling through time to stop human uprisings, robots chasing Will Smith,  or a nefarious Matrix.

AI

However, we do have self-driving cars in the showroom, and the personal digital assistant (PDA) market is growing quickly.

Not only that, but sooner rather than later, the Internet of Things will become indispensable.

The most immediate, practical, and free entry into the world of AI is in smartphone apps. Here are three that have become refined to the point of everyday utility:

The Roll … An intelligent photo organizer

The Roll is quite impressive in recognizing what your images are about, automatically tagging them with options like fashion, sports and animals.

Currently, it’s only available in iOS.

Easily Do … An intelligent task organizer

By connecting directly to email accounts, Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn and other services or apps, EasilyDo will send an alert when you need to leave for a meeting scheduled in your calendar.

It can also get status updates on flights or track packages, create calendar events based on business emails, and clean up your contacts list.

Hound … AI’s most advanced PDA yet

The same groovy dudes who brought us the essential SoundHound song recognition app have clearly raised the bar over Siri, Cortana, and Google Now. Those services will surely catch up soon, but they’ve not done it yet.

What’s impressive about Hound is its speed and personal response to commands. Furthermore, as the video demonstrated, those commands can be long and complex. Answers will still be forthcoming.

Only when commands don’t reveal an instant reply will Hound defer to an online search result.

Really, with all AI can do to make our lives more efficient right now, what could be more amazing?

Besides that.

It actually is time to take advantage of the machines, while they’re still friendly.

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