HTC's announcement of its U Ultra and U Play phones, and consequently the revelation of its Sense Companion, may have you cringing at yet another AI-powered, disembodied, virtual assistant. But HTC's spiel has a nugget of sense. AI agents today are so bright they can tell jokes or even hold conversation, whether with humans or with each other. But when it comes to actually assisting us humans to get things done, they're not that smart yet and need more than a little nudging to work. If these assistants are to be the way we interact with our devices, our homes, and our digital selves, they need to be able to do a bit more, and soon. Here are some things these virtual secretaries and butlers need to be able to do in order to really make a significant impact in our modern lived. Not all of them even require substantial advancements in artificial intelligence.