Has voice control finally started speaking our language?
The success of Amazon’s Echo proves that we are slowly coming to terms with talking to machines. How long before digital assistants can do more than just control our music, and start having meaningful conversations?
The problem with using the human voice to control computers is well known and well documented: it doesn’t always work. You can find yourself adopting the aggressive tone of a belligerent tourist in a foreign land while digital assistants employ a range of apologetic responses (“I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that”, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand the question”). We throw our arms up and complain about their shortcomings. Plenty of us have tried them, plenty of us have dismissed them as a waste of time.
We tend not to hear about them doing the job perfectly well, because few people write impassioned tweets or blog posts about things that work flawlessly. The evidence, however, shows that we are becoming more comfortable with using voice control as its capabilities improve. Back in May, Google announced that 20% of mobile search queries were now initiated by voice; and it is predicted that this will rise – across all platforms – to 50% by the end of the decade.