Voice assistants (VAs) are becoming part of our everyday lives, embedded in smartphones, laptops and smart speakers. From asking Google for directions while driving, to telling Alexa to play your favorite song, people are growing accustomed to getting assistance from machines. Initially considered a novelty, VAs are now becoming an enabling technology for individuals and businesses.
Voice assistant context
Before VAs, device users had to type phrases or questions into a search engine to find answers to the basic queries they were looking for. Now, there’s no need for typing or sifting through pages of search results. An artificially intelligent (AI) program saves you the effort and provides an answer within seconds.
Companies are increasingly taking advantage of VA technology to offer workers and clients seamless access to information, especially relating to products and services. Some experts say that by the end of 2021, companies without Vas will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Already, Vas are shaking up the search engine optimization (SEO) game. Since Vas usually responds to users by giving them the top search result of whichever search engine they use, companies and organizations are clamoring to ensure that their information is at the top of search engine results pages.
As VA technologies become more sophisticated, these assistants will likely become more proactive and anticipate user issues or desires. Furthermore, as AI starts to learn more about human behavior, Vas may interact with users in more personalized ways, thus making people feel more connected to them and likely to trust their input.
Applications of voice assistants
Wider applications for voice assistants could potentially include:
- Enabling users’ ever-increasing multi-tasking capabilities by freeing up their hands and minds. For instance, by allowing people to conduct online searches while driving, making food, or focusing on work that requires their direct attention.
- Offering people comfort in the form of an AI companion that helps them carry out daily tasks.
- Gathering data on how AI programs influence human behavior and decisions.
- Integrating VAs into more connected devices, such as home appliances, cars, sales terminals, and wearables.
- Developing VA ecosystems that cross over devices, from the home to the office and automobile.
Questions to comment on
- Do you think VAs limit people’s ability to make decisions by only showing the information or products that algorithms deem to be the best answer?
- How much resistance do you predict there will be against bringing even more AI-powered technologies into people’s homes and lives?
- How can businesses better integrate VAs into their non-consumer-facing business operations?