With 2017 now well underway, it’s a perfect time to take a look over the previous year and the potential change that is to come with the new one. For me, the few weeks we’ve seen of the new year have been dominated by technology – undoubtedly due to the unveiling of some game-changing devices and applications at CES. If you can take our eyes off the multi-screen gaming laptops and automatically-adjusting beds for a few minutes, there is a significant trend going on behind the scenes: our approach to technology is becoming more human.
For many of us, it’s challenging to think of a time when technology didn’t play such an integral part to our personal and professional lives. And yet the way we interact with the technology has remained broadly similar – a collection of input devices, most commonly a mouse and a keyboard and an uneasy relationship with processes and applications that, for the most part, are alien to us.
Sure, we’ve figured out ways to streamline and boost comfort to some extent – by placing shortcuts on desktops to save time, or integrating touch screens to make devices more intuitive, but ultimately little has changed. Until now, that is.
Our relationship with technology is about to change considerably. Indeed, most of the groundwork has already been done. This shift is all thanks to Intelligent personal assistants. If you have a smartphone, you probably already have one – a voice recognition-based assistant that can (generally) understand you have said and provide the information or services required.
Instead of awkwardly navigating through a labyrinth of folders to find that file you’re after (I’m sure I saved it in that folder…) you can now bark a command at a device on your desk to find it for you. The point here is not that I need to get better at saving things, it’s that modern technology isn’t a domain that many humans can relate to. An Intelligent personal assistant can. It was designed for this, and thanks to developments in machine learning can continually improve its abilities.
The value of voice-driven technology is not restricted to the consumer electronics space.
It may seem strange to us now to consider the prospect of the only input device we need in the future being a microphone and clear diction, but it’s the future. Already, commentators are describing this technology as “the operating system of the future”.
There’s still more work to do, however. With the latest devices rolled out to home’s across the world, there are already stories of children ordering gifts for themselves without their parent’s knowledge and myriad privacy and security concerns. However, this is a significant step in building future technologies that are developed to provide people with the resources and information they need, in the most comfortable and human way possible.