In 1983, scientist Isaac Asimov predicted what would happen in 2019. He landed right on the money with his idea of “sight-sound communication” that would enable us to communicate with anyone in the world instantly and that robotics would kill assembly-line jobs and that people will need a high-level tech education. He also predicted a machine that could create mock foods from yeast, which has yet to materialize. In 1989, the Robert Zemeckis classic Back to the Future Part II predicted the year 2015 – overshooting the idea that we would have hoverboards but predicting quite well that some films would run into the high figures when it came to sequels. But there is one thing that even the inventors of some of the tech marvels didn’t anticipate – just how convenient our lives would be made through technology. So, just what tech conveniences did we not anticipate?
Is Voice Activation the Future of Technology?
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Sci-fi depictions of voice-activated commands have been rife – from The Simpsons to Star Trek, Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey. But, did we anticipate that voice command in the form of Alexa and Google Home would be as widespread as it is? We can use the hardware to order things online, check the weather, perform basic tasks such as calling people, writing notes, and playing specifics songs, but now that we’ve harnessed it, could we go further with voice technology. The world of business is already preparing for how voice activation as a tool may completely change the landscape of the digital world, involving different aspects of technology in physical hardware and different processes online. Google, for instance, would be affected by voice search, which drastically differs from how SEO helps them rank websites and suggest search terms for users. But how else has this kind of interactive technology been embraced – and where could it lead?
How Interactive Technology Helps Us
Indeed, interactive technology that allows for responses from both sides has helped revolutionize global businesses. Conference calls that feel as though speakers are in the same room have helped cut air miles and speed up business processes and could save businesses around $33,000 per year. In the entertainment industry, online casinos have incorporated the technology of live streaming into their live casino games, such as live poker and live roulette. Perhaps this technology could be further enhanced to allow players to be seen themselves to help them practice their poker face and feel an added element of pressure and tension. The estate of Whitney Houston and BASE Hologram have even embarked on a controversial hologram tour using the likeness of the deceased singer, allowing fans to attend events where it feels as though the songstress is in the room performing her hits.
Voice Activation, Meet AI
The future of this technology looks to be connecting the ability to use voice at one stage of the hardware to execute a command at the other with AI. XMOS, a company specializing in voice processing, claim that those less confident with technology can benefit from voice activation and interactive technology because it is intuitive and doesn’t need explaining. Compare this to older generations being handed a smartphone and being expected to know what to do.
The next step is to implement the voice software in other areas of life and also to improve the technology that allows the voice to speak back based on its understanding of what is being asked or said to it. The idea is already being implemented across web design and app development. Bot technology is on the rise, and this machine learning can be implemented to be more qualitative, based on more robust algorithms for analysis. So, instead of just being able to respond to questions with definite answers, the technology could use the information it is being told by the user to create answers that might be more free flowing. The 2013 Spike Jonze film Her – starring Scarlett Johansson as a voice-operated unit like Alexa which can develop a personality and respond back to the user in a more intuitive way – could be exactly where this kind of technology is heading.
The sight-sound communication that Asimov suggested back in 1983 has come true in that we can speak through Skype or FaceTime to people elsewhere on the planet without so much as a second delay, but did we really anticipate that voice command could help protect our home from burglars? Technology has always been harnessed in such a way that it could benefit our lives and continues to be honed and improved to make our lives easier. Think of the time before smartphones and how much they have revolutionized every aspect of our lives. We may look back on 2019 in twenty years’ time and realize that we were on the cusp of some other life-changing technological phenomenon.