Are we ready to talk to machines?

Voice attendees want to escape the cell. The first to show what they can offer these solutions has been Amazon with its Echo, a product that has recently seen two new additions and has become an extremely versatile solution for users who go beyond the basic wizard and begin to take advantage for tasks of all kinds.

That seems to have ignited the spark of a segment that continues to focus on the mobile but it also seems to want to start offering their chances on other devices. Manufacturers want to make the voice problem. They want to talk to machines.

Humanizing machines

Why so many digital assistants have female names? It is a question with an answer that has led to recent debates about sexism but also has an obvious explanation. Professor of Communication at Stanford Clifford Nass explained already in 2011 on CNN,” it is a well established phenomenon that the human brain is developed to like female voices.”

Talk to machines
Image Source: Google Image

Dennis Mortensen, CEO of explained in The Atlantic how that choice is not fortuitous all. Several studies have confirmed that “you and I got better orders from a female voice.”

Even Facebook, which long ago launched its own experiment in this regard, called simply “M” -very Bond film seems to have assumed that the image we have of the assistant is a woman: some of those who have written about that assistant is so refer to that engine -Other they have not done – even though there is no official data that indicate that M has a definite gender.

This text also wondered debated this issue and the names of the main participants in the market: Microsoft has its Cortana, Apple has Siri, Amazon has to Alexa and Google has … Google Now? The decision of Google is unusual: while others have decided to “humanize” the assistant and approach it to us with a female voice and a friendly name in Google, the company with which more we seek, that relationship does not exist.

In fact even how to start with these assistants set the tone of the man-machine relationship. As indicated in Julia Mitelman interesting reflection psychological, “the way we talk to our virtual digital assistants can set the tone of our relationship with artificial intelligence”“.

Examples of Mitelman were unique: when we activate Siri or Cortana do with voice commands “Hey, Siri” and “Hey, Cortana”, which according to this psychologist “is informal and suggests that want to attract the attention of someone in the room.” On the contrary, “Ok, Google” suggests that “you are about to give directions. You establish a dynamic of power”.

Probably this relationship with the assistant Google is premeditated by the company, but it is also true that what we do have Google Now is to provide a female voice for answers. In the case of Alexa one simply says that name to start the petition or question, but back to the same: Amazon humanizes the assistant with that name and gives it a feminine personality, which can theoretically bring this technology to users.

That humanization (or in the case of Google, dehumanization) of voice assistant has helped these applications are increasingly useful, but the psychological barrier is there: it gives us embarrassed to talk to your smartphone (or any other machine). Or at least, to me he gives it to me. Those fears will gradually disappear, but until they do all they can do all these companies is to ensure that communication is as natural as possible. And that is one of the barriers of these solutions: we have to learn their language.

Our language is not (yet) the voice assistants

Use your voice as a system of interaction with our devices is still foreign to most of us. For years we have at our assistants available on Android, iOS or Windows Phone, and we’ve seen how some of them have been making the leap to a greater or lesser extent to the desktop and other elements, but the conquest of voice interaction is moving very slowly.

It has occurred since such Microsoft proposed us to speak with Kinect to handle the interface of the Xbox, but also with the proposals Google Now, Siri and Cortana were offering users of mobile platforms Google, Apple and Microsoft respectively. Suddenly we could talk to our phones, but … we did?

Some users certainly yes, but the truth is that the adoption of these technologies has been limited. Much of the blame we have users who shame or laziness not take advantage of this ability, yes, it makes us learn a new language. That is a real problem of these systems, which need to do what they need fairly precise instructions.

That is changing, of course. Managers working on natural language recognition are making remarkable progress, and there is a recognition engine that not only allow us questions very colloquial in the case of Cortana, “need shelter this afternoon?” – But with recognition context.

This allows a question that started the conversation follow another to refine the answer we really want: recognition engines as ViV precisely enhance this important aspect when it comes to maintain a (more or less) decent conversation with a machine.

You may also like to read another article on iMindsoft: What is Magic Leap? We have new tracks of the mysterious project of mixed reality

Many contenders

Attempts to win that battle singular have multiplied in number. Now Google seems to have been somewhat stagnant in recent times, something disturbing considering that it is also an integral component of their projects in the field of wearables, with Android Wear to head. Something similar happens to Apple, which has failed to Siri evolve as expected and whose original development team is almost entirely outside the project.

Some of them are precisely those responsible for ViV, this new wizard that currently only has seen in a recent demo and that seems to give a new turn of nut this entire important segment.

Others are also experiencing here: occurs with Samsung and even Sony. Actually yourself you can build your assistant voice is precisely what is proposed, a project that surely will appeal to all who are exploring this type of interaction. Companies like SoundHound or Nuance are also very stuck in this segment, and in our country we have one clear example in Sherpa, which takes time trying to convince users of these applications.

Microsoft is one of the great leaders in this segment, and it is on merit. Cortana has become the assistant willing to jump to other platforms and go mobile. While we have it in Windows 10, but the surprise was arrival in iOS and Android, which wants to offer its services to users dissatisfied with native assistants Apple and Google. Cortana is expected to soon appear on the Xbox By going beyond the controls he offered Kinect- and the question is what the next step of Redmond in this regard.

Amazon shows the way, what will Google and others?

However if there is a real player in this market that is Amazon, which left us all surprised when I got the idea to make the assistant smartphones when it seemed locked up and took to a product like Echo. This Bluetooth speaker was much more than that, of course: suddenly Alexa came alive (almost) through interaction with other services: the recipes IFTTT, the opening to third parties that allows us to see things like this or demonstrating how users you are taking advantage of this project make it clear. Amazon is suddenly a power in a segment with a demand for brutal work. There is more to see the page of job offers that Amazon has published in search of new talent.

Amazon has been successful in its strategy: instead of turning Alexa in a closed development, they have shared with the community of developers and technology enthusiasts. They have provided a set of basic features, but mostly they have provided the tools to expand those capabilities, and that has attracted almost as a surprise to all those who have begun to enjoy its possibilities.

And in these we find Google, which according to all the rumors is preparing movements in this direction. Weeks ago we talked about those intentions, and soon after Sundar Pichai revealed the importance of assistants voice was clear that the Mountain View giant was going to make a move in that direction.

Now it remains to see what prepares Google, but the data that appeared yesterday that project known internally as ‘Chirp’ would at least apparently a variant of its curious OnHub router. Here remains to be seen what Google offers to compete with that proposal so open Amazon, but what does seem is that this product will not be released in the upcoming Google I / O: we have to be patient. Visit¬†¬†for more reviews like this.

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