Monday, July 20, 2015

AI: Need PC, Tablets, Phones To Accept More Voice Commands And Understand What We Want

I think it's great that Apple, Google, Microsoft (rumored that Facebook as well) have been racing to outdo one another in the field of AI where Cortana, Google Now, And Siri are becoming more and more part of our mobile computing experience and striving to become more of a true companion.  It will be a multi-year if not perpetual AI race. 

But I do think there is something that is fundamentally feasible for these tech companies to do in the near future - having their current OS or AI understand more voice commands like switching between apps or tabs in the browser or even fundamental OS functions.  If there are such features, I have not found them to be adequate.  And it goes towards improving accessibility functions as well for users who are physically or developmentally challenged. 

What's interesting is that Apple has had Siri working on the iPhone and iPad for years and it is noticeably absent from OS X.  Only Apple knows why that is.  And there have been suggestions that Siri would appear in some format on Apple TV.  However, with Cortana playing at least a minor part of Windows 10 launch, it would make sense for Apple to follow up with Siri on the Mac in a year at the very least.

For Google, it does appear that it is going a different route than what Apple and Microsoft are doing with their AI.  Google Now is more (and much better) as providing information to make user lives better, more convenient and efficient, than before.  It's unlike we'll be able to speak into a chromebook to change tabs between its browser.  Any command via voice will have to take place on the Android.

There is the issue of how to implement such a feature.  It's likely Apple is taking a wait and see attitude, letting others like Microsoft go first with Cortana and seeing what it can learn from it.  Personally, I cannot wait to try it. And if Cortana's implementation is near flawless and can do at least what Siri and Google Now can do, it may have found a way back into the mobile hardware game. 

What about my fellow mobile warriors?  Do you feel it's time that the tech companies focus more on givng us new AI features like voice commands and being able to discern the context of what we are ordering it to do?  Voice commands have been around much longer than you realized but it is only recently that we can be optimistic about an AI working in the background trying to understand what the human operators want from it. 

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