Voice, AI, and the future

file5441245315942Visions of the future have been plentiful and varied over the years. Whether there are Jetsons’ style robot maids, futuristic computer girlfriends of Her, or the holodeck of Star Trek, one thing is strangely consistent: no matter how advanced or strange the technology, most of the future can be controlled simply by the power of voice. In fact, you’re hard-pressed to find any sort of futuristic AI interaction that doesn’t utilize a voice interface. And why not? It’s a simpler, sleeker way to interact with technology.

The need for this type of technology is growing, even today. While the technology for speech recognition has been in existence for a number of years in some way, the processing power of the cellphone has gotten powerful enough to make personal assistants a very real, very powerful asset now. Digital assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa can do anything from helping you schedule meetings and figure helping you shop to finding a funny joke or solve a nagging puzzle. What’s impressive isn’t necessarily just that they can do all of this, but that they learn by speaking more with you. By interacting with the AI, these assistants learn more about your voice, your tastes, your schedule — and by doing so, they learn how to interact with you better and better serve you.

Admittedly, the software isn’t perfect yet, but it’s improving by leaps and bounds. When Siri first launched, she had problems recognizing certain accents, and could only answer fairly basic questions. Nowadays, personal assistants like Hound are able to answer complex, multiple part questions seamlessly; while we’re still speaking differently when we interact with machines (something that linguists call “dialect leveling”), Siri now understands more dialects and languages than ever. In fact, voice recognition has grown more in the past two years than it has in the previous fifteen years combined.

The advances in AI and hardware so far will likely change the way we interact with technology… and we’ve just scratched the surface so far! Go learn more: Our CEO Jesse Robbins will be at SXSW later today speaking about this topic with several other expert panelists. You can find details here: