Voice Assistants Are The NEXT BIG THING
There is no doubt that we are living in a fantastic era of human civilization and so many technological breakthrough like voice assistants taking center stage, in retrospect this is attributed to the research funding that has gone to making this world a better place. The interesting thing about it all is that it is actually hard to predict the next big thing but in this case let’s shift our focus to the exciting world of voice search optimization technology. Some find it hard to adapt to and claim it to be evil but the truth is it is there to make our lives easier. In this case we’ll be focusing a lot more on the new and emerging field of cognitive computing where we are going to explore how they weigh in when it comes to our daily lives.
When cognitive computing is mentioned the one thing that comes to people’s minds is artificial intelligence and interactive technology that is able to mimic human beings. And an exciting branch in this field has to be the voice recognition and synthesis. The truth of the matter is that this technology dates back half a century in the mid twentieth century during the onset of neural nets and speech synthesis but it would go on to be shelved due to lack of advanced computing power at the time. The concept of machine learning was not only ground breaking but also exciting. This means that over the next few decades the inventors would have to shift their focus on something more suited to the then technology , seeing so many dead-end when it came to their then break through.
The initial breakthrough when it comes to voice assistants was made by IBM and was called the IBM shoebox and was very limited in terms of functionalities and capabilities. Over the course of time it was refined and its functionalities increased.
Some of the current voice assistants still flawed but far more advanced since the advent. This is in the case of the phrases it can grasp and the accuracy coupled with speed. One of the major problems with voice search optimization is more so when it comes to non-native speakers is the lack of recognition of certain accents and misinterpretation of given phrases this leads to certain inefficiencies as well as a below par performance but this is set to change with regards to the amount of research and efforts being put into refining the end user experience as well as improving some of the already existing infrastructure. That means in the next few years we are likely to see a lot of improvements having been made in the field of cognitive computing.
Some of the related tech fields are speech to text recognition and voice searches. One very popular application of speech to text is during messaging which brings to question, does this tech really meant to make us lazy or is there an underlying purpose behind it all. To some communities it is feared and some cultures go to an extent of considering it evil which we all know is not the case but over the course of time it is something which if embraced will be impactful in a remarkable way.
The Amazon Alexa is a consumer product that has been developed by the Amazon company designed to fit the modern home and it aims to make a change in the way we carry out our daily businesses, this means that over time we are likely going to see advanced means and more interaction. It is a simple module that is tasked to make the home a little bit more comfortable and gives you control of your home just by using your voice. This has given rise to internet of things enabled devices such as lamps and even curtains. This is both exciting and interesting and brings a lot of convenience. But considering the fact that all the services are linked to the web, raises some serious concern regarding privacy and what these companies do with all the data they collect. It is not surprising to find out that these companies know a lot more about ourselves than we think. Despite the fact that we are the ones who entrust them with details regarding our daily lives it is important if the field was to be regulated as well as stream lined.
Some critics have argued that voice assistants are not really useful but more of a novelty but looking at recent statistics , voice assistants and the ever rising voice searches have shown without doubt that they are here to stay.
See few statistics from Canalys –
Over the past two years the mobile phones have surpassed laptops and personal computers as the most widely used mode of computing and with this means that the ease of integration of voice assistants and features is inevitably going to increase. This coupled with the streamlining of the voice assistant to a less robotic and static conversation means it gives the voice assistant a more human like feel thus making it more likable and adaptable. The reliance of a good voice UI means that it is going to be easier to use as well as the integration with other services not just voice search. The voice assistant has also made the use and application such as navigation and Wikipedia to not only help you in carrying out all your tasks but also give you an easier time while doing them.
When it comes to using the Amazon Alexa. It becomes even easier because the Amazon Alexa has the capability to be customized. You can program and create your own voice searches as well as commands or rather skills as Amazon calls them. The development of amazon Alexa skills has been made so much easier by the integration and inclusion of development tutorials, webinars and even sample codes which are meant to integrate. This is not just attractive to programmers but it is also an opportunity to make considerable contribution to the consumer market through provision of opportunities.
An Amazon Alexa skill entails both a skill service and a skill interface, the skill service runs on any http server or on Amazon web service lambda, a working skill is nothing more than a successful integration and well compiled program in which the skill service and skill interface interact hand in hand to ensuring the intended command is successfully executed. The process of its development is both exciting and very interesting and with an open source and very interactive community it’s not surprising to see why Amazon Alexa is such a top favorite among many smart homes. It is also very interesting to note that over time Amazon provides not just tutorials but through their Amazon web services platform , one can not only develop skills on lambda but there are also so many other platforms the platform offers. This means that one can get a lot more done with the right programming skills.
Another reason why the use of voice assistants is likely going to be in the increase over the next few years is because with the constant polishing and refinement and adjustments being made , this means that the need to actually type in will be redundant and obsolete. Some go farther to claim that the use of voice assistants will reach a point where people even find it hard to even try and do some of the most basic tasks without the voice assistants. And who knows probably there is some truth to this. As we progress we clearly see that it has not only enabled the easy at which we do our things but has also brought a level of excitement and we have barely scratched the surface of its capability.
Over the next few years there are a number of things we should expect regarding voice assistants as well as voice searches. First and perhaps most important will be that the problem with fragmentation and complexity will likely be done away with if not completely addressed within five years. The fragmentation and lack of compatibility within this field is because it is a relatively new tech. That means that some of the commands that are meant to serve one device say a google home may not be the same command for an Amazon Alexa (buy Alexa here) , that complexity and lack of an organised means of operation is what will likely be addressed and done away with. This is normal and as with all new and emerging tech they lack central and agreed on rules of service.
Another thing we will likely see in this field is increase in the number of internet of things devices in operation. This has been favoured by the relatively cheap and available band width that connects devices to the internet as well as the fact that there will be so many people looking to apply this form of technology. It is interesting to see just how things will play off. Another aspect we are likely to witness is the increased accuracy of the voice assistants as well as its ability to take instructions from non-native speakers or rather those with a deep accent, we are also likely to see more languages being supported over the course of time. At the moment the language barrier has prevented many people from taking up voice assistants and with an increased scope over just how many people it can serve we are likely to witness an increase in the number of people who use it. So whichever way you look at it there is no doubt that this technology is here for the long run. Despite the few issues and fears of privacy there is a good chance all this will be handled and addressed.
When it comes to the battle for the most dominant voice assistant in the market at the moment that is hard to tell and not easy to decide because the underlying voice search optimisation technology is relatively new and it is more or less the same across all the existing current platforms but that is likely to change over the next few years. This is not remotely surprising and with such we are likely to witness steep rivalry. This is an advantage to the end consumer as it challenges the companies to refine their services in a bid to emerge on top. But until that happens the developers and big companies can look into how they can take advantage of this piece of innovation. There is absolutely no question that it is a matter of time before artificial intelligence goes main stream and perfecting speech recognition as well as getting to explore its capabilities might lead to further breakthroughs but its end result is something that is still under scrutiny, some people are raising concerns over just how advanced the voice assistant is becoming that they can easily be the future of customer support.
The truth behind this cannot be denied since on a recent demo from googles voice assistant, they voice assistant was able to not only mimic the intonation and features of human conversation and was completely identical to what a human would do. The google assistant in the name of google duplex is one of the most advanced form of convoluted neural networks working together to not only mimic human voice but to go even further and hold a non-distinguishable conversation. This may have been exciting to some but it raised a lot of moral and ethical issues regarding its use and how far we should actually take it, and if it is fair to use a voice assistant and not let the person on the other side be aware of it.
Through speech recognition, voice synthesis and good funding it is good to see just how much computing power has brought to the picture and enhanced the traditional search engine optimisation. Despite the few concerns regarding privacy, fragmentation of this form of technology and the inevitable trust issues, voice assistants are here to stay and it will be interesting to see the turn of events over the next few years.
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