Technology / Your wish is AI’s command

Your wish is AI’s command

Companies have been developing AI-powered voice assistants to help us with our day-to-day lives for some years, with limited success – but now they could be about to truly take off.

A truly hands-free, keyboardless existence could soon be a reality, as AI-powered voice assistants continue to disrupt the way we live and work, according to John Zealley, senior managing director of Accenture.

Zealley is speaking at the FUTR M2020 Summit, where speakers examined how brands are using technology to adapt to changing demand by consumers. When Business Reporter pays a visit, AI and voice recognition is certainly a common topic of conversation.

“It is early days,” says Zealley. “[But] we are certainly seeing it as a way of fulfilling executional tasks. You can combine voice with automated lightbulbs. You can turn the light on and off without losing your seat. The question is, how far is it going to go?

“The whole voice technology piece is coming strong. We can all say there are certain things that we really like doing with voice. But they may be fairly transactional at this stage.”

For Zealley, the critical issue is how voice is going to be combined with other technologies, as people tend to be what he describes as “multi-channelled” and aren’t always going to stick to one way of doing things. “Where the disruption will increasingly come from is people finding innovative ways of taking different pieces of technology and putting them together,” he says.

“It will be interesting to see how voice gets combined with screens. You actually start having an integrated experience, either literally on a single device, or, as I say, voice co-ordinated with your smartphone, so you are actually having a spoken and visual experience.”

Originally published in Business Reporter Online: June 2018


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