Artificial intelligence will transform apps as we know them
If the addition of Black Mirror to the Netflix roster did anything, it put the fear of God into the hearts of those who are unsure about the future of technology. In a sense, it’s understandable. A world where your entire house can be controlled by voice command and you can study in a virtual reality classroom isn’t unfathomable. However, these fast-approaching realities should be seen as cause for celebration, not fear.
The widespread integration of artificial intelligence technology into our everyday lives could be the death rattle of many apps as we know them. Make no mistake; the slow disappearance of apps is a good thing. Just a quick scroll through your phone’s app pages will prove that most of us have too many apps but barely make use of any of them. How many specialized apps do you have for tasks like tracking cheap plane tickets, checking the weather in Zimbabwe or finding places to eat, that you can’t get rid of because they might be useful again at some point in the future? Not to mention the plethora of games we download, play once, then completely forget about. The advancement of technology like Google Home, Siri and the like will become a “one stop shop” with the functions of all those specialty apps built right in.
Voice controlled devices aren’t going to supersede mobile apps in the same way that DVD killed the VCR. Instead, they’ll supplement them, covering their blind spots. For instance, voice controlled Tinder would be awful. Nobody wants Siri reading out strangers’ bios or asking if you’d like to swipe left or right. It’ll be the niche apps that control your the temperature in your apartment and keep track of your groceries that fall to the wayside.
One of the hurdles this technology will have to overcome is the shitty, but ever-improving, voice recognition software. Not many people in Australia are going to want to talk to a device that hears “happy Tuesday” as “hoppy cheese day,” but developers are already working on that. Plus, there will be the capacity for some really iconic celebrity voices. Anybody who had the Snoop Dogg narrated GPS knows the endless potential there.
An interesting part of voice activated technology is how it could replace human contact. We are naturally social creatures, but talking to an intelligent enough AI could satisfy our social urges. It could even be used as a way to help people with social anxiety overcome their fears. The extreme of this was seen in the movie Her, where a very lonely Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with his day planner, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. Then again, who wouldn’t fall in love with their celebrity voiced AI? There are a few people in the Maple building who would love to fall asleep to the soothing voice of Ryan Reynolds telling them a bedtime story.
Overall, the future of voice controlled technology is full of potential. Smart homes could be fully operated by a device like Google Home. Grocery shopping could be done by your fridge and delivered to your door. Thermostats and light fixtures operated by voice control. Since real life isn’t an episode of Black Mirror, it’s not likely that your house is going to kill you. Ultimately, these new technologies are going to make life more convenient, not deadly.
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