Voice Control – The New Wave of Startups?
With Google Home, Apple Homepod and Amazon Echo, voice control is hotter than ever. At the same time, this area promotes a number of different questions – not least in terms of integrity and security. Should we be worried?
Imagine five years from now. You come home after a day at work, walk through the front door and you’re immediately greeted by that same robot voice that welcomes you, over and over, while increasing the temperature a few degrees and turns the lights on to just the right shade.
Imagine this scenario: Artificial intelligence has begun to check your fridge and order evening meals when you’re just not bothered to seek that personal interaction. In addition, it knows that you have had an unusually stressful day at work and therefore plays into a quieter song that helps you get the pulse down; all without having to think even a single thought.
Does this sound unlikely? In fact, today’s voice control features and AI attributions do many of those things already, albeit perhaps not as flawlessly as the scenario proposed above. This field of technology has grown explosively in just a few years, and now several technology giants fight to place their voice-controlled products in your home.
Apple has its Siri, Amazon’s equivalent is called Alexa and Google’s name is Assistant. In addition to these, we have Microsoft’s Cortana and Samsung Bixby. A whole army of robots that are there to help you and already do many of these things – but why doesn’t it feel yet like we’re in some sort of techno-futuristic world that we’ve seen in a number of movies over the years. Ex machina comes to mind – Ava, I need to speak with you.
If you have used a smartphone in recent years, chances are you’ve encountered some form of voice control. Apple built Siri in iOS 5 already in 2011, and Google has had Google Now – a kind of “ancestor” to Assistant – in Android since 2012. But it’s probably Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod and Google Home that are most interesting in this question since they are steering us clear towards a future where an ex machine-esque society could become possible – albeit, without the security risks. . Similarly, there are so-called smart speakers, which are suggested to be centrally located in your living room, and then perform what you\’re asking for. It\’s nothing really new or something that we\’ve come to think as unique in this sense. But let\’s continue.
Most of the things are rather simple; for example, we can tell the speaker to play a certain song on Spotify or ask it to do a Google search. But it also focuses on reasonably advanced services that allow us to order goods online only with the help of our voice. Here, Amazon is in the forefront, linking voice control with its giant online shopping.
But what about voice control as an implementation in our cars? Did we forget about the study from 2011 that concluded voice commands to be a safety hazard in the car?
It takes our brains around 27 seconds to reach full concentration on the run again after we\’ve done something so trivial that by using voice control to ask a car stereo to play a new song. This is what is shown by a study conducted by the University of Utah in collaboration with the American Automobile Association. The study was conducted by studying infotainment systems in ten different cars released this year as well as the three smartphone-based variants Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Google Now, the least distracting system of the smartphone options and Cortana was the most distracting. Among the cars\’ infotainment systems were the Chevrolet Equinox and Buick Lacrosse, which performed the best while the Mazda 6 was the worst.
What about the commercial aspect in the future?
In just two years, more than 67 million voice-controlled devices are expected to be in US homes, and they will be able to do more and more things as well. So far, advertising and marketing have not been the developers\’ main focus. Rather, simple features, music and games have been the areas that received the most attention, but now both the functionality and the amount of users reach enough levels to make it easy to snap on the revenue-generating parts of voice control.
It\’ll be interesting to see further studies based on these premises being conducted and whether we\’ll expect more pitfalls as a result of its continuous implementation. Can we expect voice control to be a medium for creativity as startups continue to rise in this interesting area of technology?
Evolvera – always changing, always evolving.