Ok Google, Siri, Alexa – Scratch my Back Please !
It’s simply amazing the manner in which the tech companies have planted ears and voices in our lives. Take the example of Siri. Users of Apple products like iPhones and Mac laptops have got hooked on asking Siri for information they need without Googling it. This virtual assistant has become a part of their daily routine. People had already begun to forget how to use that ancient device called books to load software called thinking into their brains. Now, they are beginning to depend on such virtual assistants more to pander to inherent laziness, than as a time saving measure.
Huge Help to Parents of Very Young Inquisitive Kids
As a father of three 5-year-olds who need answers to all kinds of questions, using Google Home, Alexa, and Siri has let me off the hook often enough. Honestly speaking, many parents don’t really have answers to all the questions that children ask. Occasionally, it is a matter of not being able to simplify complex ideas and information into a capsule which a child will comprehend. Now, you can luxuriate in the thought of being able to answer why the sky is blue, who has won the maximum number of Grand Slam tennis titles, how many countries there are in the world, who was the 20th President of the USA, whether there will be rain in the evening, or why there are 28 days in February by simply letting your voice assistant to do so.
Depending on search engines: The millennials can’t even begin to understand how people could delve into mountains of books, and cram so much information into their heads to dredge up as and when required. For them, Google and various other search engines like Yahoo, MSN, Dogpile, and Bing are the go-to resources to access information. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, the tech companies have carried on from there to make accessing information that much easier.
It’s All About Speed
Now, you can make the best of both worlds as Google Assistant has introduced support for Siri shortcuts — welcome news for iOS users. The voice activated assistants provide information faster than your fingertips can type out a query. You don’t need to switch on the TV, and surf various news channels, or scan various websites to check for the latest poll results, which way a football or cricket match swung, which are the latest movie releases, or even what the weather is like outside. Alexa, Siri, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Bixby, and Cortana are there to provide you with all the information you need. Just ask.
Natural language advantage:
These virtual assistants have been made even more user-friendly as they can now respond to a variety of commonly spoken languages. You don’t need to use received pronunciation (RP) for a very British accent, or sound like an all-American hero to be understood. Cortana, however, is suspicious of RP, and doesn’t respond readily to commands made with a British accent. Feeling blue? Let your smart assistant tell you some jokes.
Catering to laziness
Get your virtual assistant to play songs you want to hear, to change TV channels, or even switch off lights in your home before you go to bed. Alexa will call people on your contact list on Skype if your hands are occupied doing other things. More than catering to laziness, smart assistants provide you with a delightful hands-free experience. Forget about the mouse, the touchscreen, and the impersonal laptop screen to access information, and get odd jobs done without moving a finger.
The Implications of Sensor Guided Smart Assistants
Alexa does a whole range of jobs for you
from answering your calls, to setting reminders for meetings, checking out on your kids, and awakening you at the right time to enable you to catch that early morning flight. Further, depending on what virtual assistant you use, it might tell you about what would be the optimal room temperature given outside weather conditions; when you need to replenish your food stocks; fix an appointment with your doctor; order products for you online; or even warn you about electrical voltage fluctuations through its sensor settings. Security products might detect when there is an intruder, and alert you accordingly.
Creating Dependence by Being Addictive
The AI and voice based virtual assistants gather a great deal of your personal information. So, use them judiciously to ensure you don’t put yourself in jeopardy of data loss, or having your bank accounts or social networking site profiles hacked. MIT graduates design predictive algorithms to keep people hooked to such assistants. The sheer convenience of your not having to get out the sofa or chair to complete minor odd jobs can be pretty addictive.
Reducing overheads at work
However, industries like banking, airlines, and hospitality reduce overhead costs by using these smart assistants in place of humans to respond to routine queries. Used mindlessly, it can be very off putting for irate customers who might be asking about something that is not listed in the FAQs.
Future of Information Access
With the advent of Information age the two things that have not changed are the basic Input and Output devices. It’s still is the faithful keyboard/ Mouse as Input device and your Monitors/ printers as output device. Though these devices have been efficient but the only disadvantage being that you must be bound at a desk or you must continuously ogle at your cell phone for the same. With the AI Assistants this will remarkably change, the idea that access of information where the Input and output mode becomes Voice is revolutionary. It gets your free and will open the doors to the new age computing where you can just tell Google to add the new client order to your CRM by just yelling at a wall or to access how much is the pending invoice of Sullivan’s INC for March by just asking for the access.
While the benefits of these tech innovations are too many to be listed here; use them with caution as tech companies are getting first hand info on you and your loved ones, at a pace much faster than any keyboard can ever do.