A prototype of artificial intelligence called YouRule can adapt any smart device to our preferences.
From the name of the project alone, we can see how the paradigm has changed: It is no longer the technology that stands at the center, but the user. YouRule: You control the smart devices that surround you, with your tastes and your preferences. At home, in the office, in your car.
The technology was developed by the EuPont research group of the Department of Control and Computer Engineering at Turin’s Polytechnic University, coordinated by Professor Fulvio Corno, working together with Luigi De Russis and Alberto Monge Roffarello. YouRule is a platform that aims to simplify and personalize smart devices connected to the internet, offering an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. “This is the biggest challenge,” Corno told La Stampa. “Our efforts are aimed at optimal ease of use, with tests, focus groups and user involvement at every stage.”
The prototype specifications were published on Computer, the IEEE Computer Society’s magazine.
What is YouRule
“With YouRule, we move beyond the concept of having a specific application for each device. In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in smartphone use, as well as the multiplication of intelligent objects that surround us,” say Corno. “It’s not hard to imagine that, three to five years from now, each of us will have a hundred devices to manage, and it is unthinkable to have an app for each one of them. We asked ourselves how to overcome this problem — and with YouRule, we found the solution. Users specify what they want, their tastes and their preferences, then the artificial intelligence takes care of using the connected devices to satisfy the requests.”
It’s a user-friendly platform where we can set our preferences. For example, if you want to enjoy a certain ambient temperature at home, at the office or in your car, YouRule will automatically connect to the heating devices to provide the heat you need, without the need for additional operations.
“With YouRule we delegate the dialogue with devices to an intermediary intelligence. We are responsible for providing our tastes and habits to the machine, but in a simple way. For example, the daily programming of a thermostat is seen as a complex task by the average user. We want to get to the simplicity of a mobile application.”
The future of YouRule
“I think that our solution can be optimal for life in a smart city, where the technologies of the Internet of Things are open and public along every street corner. YouRule can be connected in a simple and fast way,” says professor Corno. “The prototype works wherever it encounters accessible intelligent devices and functions. Obviously it cannot connect to private networks: in this case, there must be a validation of the request sent by YouRule. Our project does not need further information and data beyond those already requested by the various online services today. We do not use user data to offer advertising or services that benefit third parties, though we do use them to offer people what they want, based on their tastes and preferences.”
Having a single platform to be able to access all intelligent objects could, however, increase the risks for users, as noted a few months ago in La Stampa by Mikko Hyppönen, a researcher at the Helsinki-based company F Secure. “Very often the problem doesn’t come from either the servers or the internet connections, but from our smartphones and personal computers,” Hyppönen said. “In many cases, the security settings are not configured correctly by users.”
The YouRule team is getting ready for these challenges: The project is so far just a prototype and is still being tested. EuPont’s efforts are now focused on improving the platform specifically for its ease of use and security.
All rights reserved: La Stampa/Worldcrunch by Luca Scarcella