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Was Jiminy Cricket the first Digital Assistant?  

Our conscience is what guides us to make moral judgements. Moral judgements can come to be made through values, norms, principles or rules. In psychological terms the conscience is associated with feelings of remorse or regret when we commit an action which goes against our moral values, or feelings of pride and integrity when our actions reflect them. 

 

It’s hard to personify a “conscience”, to imagine it as something which exists outside of our brains or our chests. But Disney did what they do oh so well and turned a conscience into a character in their adaptation of Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. Conscience was brought to life in the form of Jiminy Cricket. 

 

Jiminy assists Pinocchio as he searches for identity in a world where truth and lies are shown on his face. Through his personal journey, Pinocchio turns to Jiminy on multiple occasions for the information that will guide him to make the decisions he needs. He is his conscience and his assistant. In a quest to help Pinocchio discover his place, Jiminy spends his time teaching Pinocchio things about the world and how to be good. 

 

What do Jiminy Cricket and Digital Assistants have in common? 

 

Today our assistants aren’t cartoon crickets. They don’t sing us songs of motivation and magic – well, unless we ask them to – but they do provide us with information on any topic we desire, turn our music on, up or down and help us get our shopping done. According to some recent research, the majority of people want their digital assistants to prevent them from making mistakes; be able to detect and react to emotions; fulfil needs before being asked and reflect their values and worldview. Sound familiar? 

 

Our digital assistants are our metaphorical crickets. Always watching out for us, letting us know whether we need to take an umbrella out or if the traffic on our route to work is heavier than usual. They keep us informed, get us where we need to be and help us be our best selves. 

 

In a sense, the Cortanas, Alexas and digital assistants of the world are here to help us be good too. What we do with their assistance, much like little Pinocchio, is up to us. 

 

If you want to discover how cutting-edge AI can provide your organisation with digital assistance (Jiminy Cricket-style), get in touch with our experts.