AI Personal Assistants: Where Do We Go Next?

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undefinedPersonal assistants – also known as virtual or smart assistants - have come a long way in the past seven years. Artificial intelligence (AI) is not as exclusive as it was in 2011 when Apple first integrated Siri into the iPhone. Thanks to time and e-commerce competition, personal assistants like Alexa and Google Home are now available to the mass consumer market.

While everyone else was focused on automation and self-driving cars, companies like Amazon were on the verge of a technological breakthrough. In just a few short years, e-commerce giants would revolutionize our daily routine through the creation of AI-powered handheld devices.

Looking Back

Siri might not have been the first voice-enabled assistant, but it was certainly the name that stuck. She has made her way from the iPhone 4S in 2011 to the Apple HomePod this month. Pre-orders for Apple’s new personal assistant are rolling in and it’s only a matter of time until we see how it performs.

undefinedBack in 2011, iPhone users were blown away by Siri. She could make phone calls, send text messages, manage your calendar, and open the Pandora app. Apple has spent several years improving on its speech recognition technology, but Siri is still falling behind.

Google Now (Google’s Siri) was released in 2012 and has recently been replaced by the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is pretty much an upgraded version of the same voice-enabled technology, but it can be integrated with smart devices.  

undefinedLike the other AI-powered personal assistants, the Google Assistant is evolved based on a learning process. These devices will actually get to know you by storing information from previous conversations, and then draw on that database of knowledge in the future. The more you interact with your device, the better it will be at having a conversation with you.

That is the beauty of artificial intelligence: the everyday consumer can now teach a machine how to be smart. On the back end, programmers have installed all the tools the machine needs to start the learning process.  

Same Technology, Greater Applications

undefinedIt seems like we jumped from Siri to Alexa overnight. One day we were asking Siri to make a phone call, and the next we were asking Alexa to buy our groceries, arrange our rides, and change the temperature in our homes. What will come next?

By giving consumers so much in such a short period of time, the tech behemoths have changed our expectations for the future. The application of AI-powered technology is endless – especially with top-notch programmers teaching these personal assistants new skills on a daily basis.

However, spending too much time expanding on a knowledge base that people already underutilize is not the best direction to go in. In 2018, Amazon, Google, and their contenders will figure out how they can get the most out of existing skills.

Personal assistants are incredibly popular in the kitchen or living room because that is where they were intended to be used. But what about in your car or office? What if your personal assistant could fully operate your laptop for you, or turn the heat in your house back on when you’re driving back from a road trip?

With a few tweaks, personal assistants can have a much wider application – and companies like Ford, HP, and Panasonic are already making that shift. It’s all about teaching these devices how to communicate with each other, and it won’t be long until these companies start to deliver.

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