Over the last few weeks I have had much time to evaluate in full on end user mode each of the voice driven features or apps available for iOS and Android, from sassy Siri to marvelous Maluuba.
(Bare in mind before you read further that decades ago I wrote a draft specification for a voice driven ‘Telecomputer’ powered by Smalltalk or a similar modular language and have been thinking about this subject since being a long haired lad at college.)
One of the interesting observations as one struggles with such technology is that it replicates the our human flaws, therefore, with specific use case exceptions, renders the technology not quite ready yet. In a noisy environment and if using a strong regional accent, voice AIs fail to comprehend – just as we do. Not to mention loss of connectivity, which can be a nightmare when driving and wanting to “Navigate to point X” hands free only to receive a “No data connection” error because the client device cannot talk to big the all knowing Mother server in California. Bummer, I’ll have to stop and use my fingers!
To be fair, the latter issue is not related to AI, more a matter for those building our wireless infrastructure – one painfully slow decade at a time.
Even after using a voice driven app without any apparent problems, for peace of mind, one still instinctively glances at the display or prods the app icon (calendar, email Outbox etc) to check the command has in fact been carried out correctly. So, for now, I still use the manual controls, for there is nothing more reliable than seeing the user interface respond there and then to tactile input.
It’s all about trust.
Fight back club: Rest easy, the guys at CSER are on the case.
I don’t link to a specific excellent movie franchise staring Arnie because that is obvious, but some of you may not have heard of Colossus: The Forbin Project – an intelligent movie that like Logan’s Run, provided a shocking wake up call at a young age that had a similar impact as the anti-smoking commercials of that time (shown at school). Such thought provoking productions don’t just effect how one behaves as an individual but (for my part anyway) how we design and engineer advanced technology products of the future…