In past decades, films such as The Matrix and Blade Runner have featured Voice AI as a futuristic, dystopian concept. Fast forward to today and this technology has advanced to a point where many of us can’t imagine life without it (yes we’re talking to you, Amazon Alexa).
So what is Voice AI and how does it work? Firstly, AI is the technology that makes machines behave like intelligent humans. Think speech recognition, visual perception and decision making. It’s enabled by machine learning and deep learning; algorithms that dissect and analyse data, then apply these learnings to draw conclusions and make informed decisions.
Examples of deep learning already surround us. It’s how Facebook recognises your friends faces in a digital photo, and Netflix knows which show you’ll want to watch next.
Now, pair voice activation with AI, and we have inanimate objects giving intelligent answers to our voice requests (looking at you again Alexa). Think back to the Batmobile, which would respond to Bruce Wayne’s voice commands, saving him and Gotham City from countless villians. Rolls Royce have taken this concept and now integrated Voice AI technology into a new vehicle, creating a voice responsive car. Just like the Batmobile, except disappointingly, without the flame throwers.
Voice AI is also dropping into our daily landscape. It’s predicted that soon our fridge will be able to order groceries online, lamps will do an online search for new lightbulbs, and your car will inform you when it’s due for a service. The best part is, you won’t need to lift a finger. You’ll simply ask a question and your household item will give you the answer or perform the required task.
From here, it only gets better. It’s estimated that in the very near future, computers will start listening to us non-stop, just like the Star Trek computer. They’ll get to know us, so not only will Voice AI algorithms be able to understand and respond to a simple question, but they’ll begin to understand tone, recognise different voices, and provide comprehensive answers.
For example, imagine you’re heading out to lunch with a friend and you want to know how long it will take to get there:
You: “I’m going to lunch with Annie at ABC Restaurant at 1pm today. What time should I leave home?”
Voice AI device: “It will take you 20 minutes to get to ABC Restaurant from home. Remember it is Annie’s birthday next Wednesday. You also need milk, which you can pick up on your way home from XYZ Market.”
So it seems we’ve taken a step back to the future, where sci-fi movie technology of yesteryear is moving into today’s mainstream life. As long as Voice AI continues to improve our lives, and isn’t used for evil purposes (eg. annihilate the human race), we certainly have an exciting future ahead.