Humanising Technology - The Latest in Personal Device Assistants
September 01, 2015
The technology industry is swamped with brands all competing to be the most innovative, bright, fun and simple - basically anything that is as far away from jargon heavy tech language as possible. These brands know that the more personalised their audiences experiences are, the more people will understand their mechanical vocabulary and want to share and talk about the technology in a more humanised way.
As tech companies compete to become the most personalised in the industry, we have noticed a trend that sees technologies trying to actually turn into humans - in a weird kind of way. Personal assistants are popping up all over our smartphones, watches, fridges and operating systems. The craze all started with Apple’s Siri - the girl everyone has on their phones but rarely uses her for anything (except to ask when drunk with mate “Hey Siri - who let the dogs out?” Try it - go on). She seems to get confused easily, not understand what we are saying and mostly return results that we could have easily - and much more quickly - typed into google to find out.
There are now many others, such as Google Now, Cortana and Amazon have even brought out a stand-alone wireless speaker that has it’s own built in personal assistant they have named Alexa. Due to hands-free shouting-across-the-room-at-her access, Alexa seems to be gaining a bit of a cult following on the online world - she is really starting to shine on the Amazon website as people leave hilariously thought out reviews (over 24,000 to be exact) for their screen-less sleek cylindrical girlfriend.
Facebook has now unveiled its virtual assistant “M” as part of the messenger app - a gender neutral conversational assistant that will give you any information you need, from date ideas to telling jokes. The software is still in testing mode and only available as part of a limited invite-only beta in San Francisco, but we can already see from testing that the beauty in this technology lies in it’s ability to remember and learn from previous experiences to continuously improve its service.
At the moment these assistants are more frustrating than anything and most of us are more likely to open our browsers than to start a conversation with Siri. But they are getting better and they are starting to learn. I’m actually a little worried the devices might one day remember so much we will start to see virtual relationships with our assistants, ala Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansen. Actually, I might change the GPS in my partners car to the male voice - just incase.