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Social networking and social responsibility are two terms you do not often hear in the same sentence. However, in the wake of several high profile cases where athletes are stripped of their rights to compete, or legal proceedings are brought against pranksters or a casual remark from somebody frustrated with the delay at a airport, the next generation of social networking systems will have protection mechanisms built in to help people protect themselves.



Today, when we send an email or write a document, the spell checker is intuitive enough to auto correct the commonly misspelt words we use and highlight grammatical errors. With the next generation of social networking tools, we will see the emergence of the virtual assistant. Everyone will have one, a background process, which learns your social networking style over time and adjusts the message you send automatically, so as not to offend anyone. 


The assistant will also figure out what times of day you most likely to read and respond to tweets and will prioritize the most interesting ones for you, and bury the ones from your annoying brother in-law at the bottom of the pile. In Twitter 2.0, your assistant will listen to millions of tweets every day and will automatically follow interesting people and un-follow those who are not so interesting.

Eventually the virtual assistant will make the jump into your smartphone and will become the basis of my smartphone preferences. It will replace primitive IRIS or SIRI voice recognition systems and be able to figure out what you mean based upon the language used in other areas of digital interaction with people. As technology advances, this is the natural progression of things to come, a safety net, a time saver and an organizer, all rolled into one, can't wait.

By Angela Sutherland 


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