Smart Speakers In Your Delorean & What Happens Next
Fire up the Flux Capacitor! This week we travel to a world reimagined through the future convergence of Voice, 5G and the Internet of Things. In the third installment of our 4-part series, Oxford Road Founder and CEO Dan Granger shares a glimpse of what’s possible as smart speakers transform the world as we know it. Next week we’ll return to Hill Valley to take a look at practical applications for marketers. For now, buckle up as we accelerate to 88MPH.
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So what comes next? With this new speed of information processing, you will suddenly find your smart speaker smarter—and growing more so every day. No longer just a device that can listen and respond. It will move toward more advanced prediction and personalization as making recommendations from machine learning will become exponentially more sophisticated and useful.
Imagine calling a customer service line where extroverts would rather deal with the machine than a live agent. Soon, it’s also a companion who shares your interests and converses with you about them in ways we have only seen in fiction. Your smart speaker is a coach and a teacher. This teacher, however, has all the world’s knowledge and can distill it into words and voice that appeal to your personal learning style and preferences. Siri takes on the voice of your desired celebrity, like what Waze does today, but directing you through your life—not just traffic—and infinitely more adaptable. It can play nanny to your child while you’re cooking or help with homework. Alexa is your therapist.
Remember social media? How would you like to be transported into conversations with someone whom you’ve never met but are more compatible with you than 99.9% of the people you encounter in-person. Perhaps this could help in dating. Don’t bother filling out a profile, as your smart speaker has been filling it out for you as it observes your interactions and interests during your every waking hour for years. Wait until it matches you with compatible users live, based on any criteria you can think of, ready to explore any topic. The world just became infinitely smaller.
As the IoT evolves with equal rapidity, the usefulness of your smart speaker will be amplified by devices dealing with other senses. How will sound engage with sight, smell, taste, and touch? Are you hungry? Wearable technology will know what food will balance your taste preference, mood, weight goals, nutrient deficiencies, food allergies, and more so that you don’t have to think of what you want for dinner. Approve Alexa’s suggestion, and a drone will deliver the perfect meal to your door in minutes.
Are you lonely, but don’t want to deal with human interaction? Proxies of real people await your company. Recorded data from other users can be accessed, forming a composite of that person to provide a credible approximation of what statements they might make, how they would respond to your question, their voice—with their speaking patterns, accents, intonations, vocal tics, and incredible likenesses. The more data that has been captured by or about an individual, the better they can approximate them. In the absence of data, it can extrapolate from what is known and statistically give probable statements from lookalike personas. You can now watch any movie, show, or sporting event with anyone you desire, whether you’ve met them or not. Adjust the settings if you would rather that they hold their complaints.
It can raise the dead.
What would Abraham Lincoln do? At some point, an apparition will tell you. Once all his speeches, letters, testimony from witnesses, images, and recreations have been fed into a central learning system, 3-D Holograms may bring his being into your physical space. How many others have passed away that are now available to engage with you?
How far are we from AI learning so much about our preferences and response patterns that it can effectively predict our thoughts and decode our imagination? At what point will it know what we want before we want it as well as what we are willing to do to get the things that we want? The possibilities may be too extraordinary to consider for our immediately practical purposes.
How, then, shall we live? One stage at a time. When we bought our first iPod, we didn’t know we were creating the podcast industry or that this device would evolve into the smartphone. The first step is to understand that your smart speaker is more than a modern radio to keep in your home. It is infinitely learning and expanding in its ability. We have discovered a new world, and now it is for us to till the soil.