Twenty-three years ago, my 7 year old daughter was given a homework assignment to write about something she would like to invent. I was so proud of her idea – she called it “Speak it and see it.” The concept was a simple speech recognition tool where a user could dictate into a microphone and the words would appear on the computer. The fact that she received only a “B” demonstrates how far-fetched this idea must have seemed at the time.
Fast forward to 2016. There is an exciting evolution at the intersection of natural language processing, artificial intelligence and connected devices. Intelligent personal assistants like Amazon’s Alexa®, Apple’s Siri®, Microsoft’s Cortana®, VIV, Hound and Google Assistant promise to change the way we manage our lives. Gartner explains, “An autonomous agent becomes the main user interface. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent. These intelligent agents may be associated with an individual app or act across multiple apps.”
Intriguing for sure, but are they the next big thing?