Smartphone has been a great social tool. It helps us keep in touch and arrange plans through voice, text, email, and a variety of friend-connectivity apps. The irony is that, when we actually meet up with our friends in person, smartphones feel like an impediment to social interaction. We can’t count the number of times we’ve seen someone sit at a bar booth, idly crunching beer nuts while waiting for their friends to stop playing with their phones. The very thing that enabled us to get together is also preventing us from engaging with each other once we’re together.
All technological progress opens up possibilities for subsequent technologies and applications, and many of these applications serve to improve the lives of people with disabilities. In much the same way that the wheel’s invention led to the wheelchair, the mechanization of technology allowed for the mass production of Braille cards, and the technology behind the telephone made the first electronic hearing aid possible, natural language understanding can provide greater convenience for individuals who live with one or many of a host of different disabilities — the impaired use of hands, compromised mobility, dyslexia, or visual impairments. The maturation of this technology will have a transformative effect.
Photo by Antonio Zugaldia
While virtual assistants can transform your commute and your home, the virtual assistant is at its best when it’s portable and mobile. Nonetheless, the virtual assistant won’t stay confined to our phones for much longer — reaching into your pocket to use all this stuff will be soooo 2013.
Image by FaceMePLS
The smart home is a staple of the science fiction imagination. The home of the future will be a magical compendium of technological gizmos and doodads, and it will be an ample playground for virtual assistants. Certain devices, such as televisions, will be faster to adopt virtual assistants over others, but don’t discount your toaster just yet! The home is ripe for virtual assistant penetration, but a few factors will determine where the technology will begin and, more importantly, where the technology will succeed.
When you see someone talking on a smartphone these days, it’s often hard to tell whether they’re talking to another person or to the phone itself. Sometimes you’ll even hear the phone respond back, perhaps in a playful and engaging way (albeit usually with a slightly robotic touch to its voice). But what makes you think that they could be talking to another person is that they are using normal, everyday language to interact with their device.
Siri wasn’t the debut of the virtual assistant in automobiles, but the iPhone technology is pushing progress on that front. Integrating cars with virtual voice assistants make sense, not least because of the dangers (and illegality) of using a smartphone behind the wheel. Bluetooth has been great for drivers taking hands-free calls in cars, but putting a virtual assistant in the passenger seat (or, more accurately, in the dashboard) eliminates the temptation to send a quick text in traffic or to answer that email at the next stoplight.
The Speaktoit Assistant is a customizable virtual character that helps make daily interaction with your mobile device easier, more fun, and less stressful. The Assistant app utilizes natural language technology that lets you manage your favorite Internet services ‒ as well as your device itself ‒ using only your voice. There are no clunky, complicated commands to learn ‒ you simply speak to the Assistant in normal, everyday language and it will understand, making it perfect for users of any age or experience level.