Skip to main content

Voice Is the Future Input Device

2017 is the year we really start talking to our computers. Without question, Amazon's Alexa kicked off 2017 at CES by dominating the show. Amazon didn't even have an official booth at CES for Alexa, but the Amazon voice assistant was mentioned throughout the four day event.

This is also the year I purchased a Google Home (one of Amazon Echo's competitors), and my Nexus 6P phone was auto-updated with Google Assistant (one of Amazon Alexa's competitors). Google Home and Google Assistant allow natural speech to Google's vast services layer and knowledge graph. As a family we've enjoyed talking to Google Home. I've paired the Google Home with several Belkin Wemo switches and we can rather naturally turn off a few lights around the house.

Our Kitchen Google Home

I also wrote a basic Google Action to learn more about the guts of natural language processing (NLP) development. I used Google's API.AI to create the voice interactions with almost "drag and drop" ease. The only actual coding that was required was a webhook. Webhooks can be simple or complex programs that send the voice input variables to an external API for processing or to rattle through some if/then logic.

All this pre-text is interesting geekery that I'm sure fuels many product meetings across the business landscape. However, it was a conversation tonight with my four-year old daughter that solidifies voices as the future dominant and preferred way to interact with computers. 

Here's the quick story... I was watching the news on our main TV, and my four-year old said, "Can I tell Google how much longer you can watch TV?" I said, "sure." A few minutes later Quinn is talking to the Google Home and had successfully set a timer for 20 minutes. She's four! She interfaced with a computer and set a timer for 20 minutes. That's amazing. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Make Me Smart, Mini Review

I try to be task driven and agile. I use Todoist to maintain my personal backlog with each day being a new sprint with the goal of four to five tasks completed per day. One of today's main tasks was to write a mini review of Make Me Smart - the new podcast from APM hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood. I've been a fan of public radio since I began listening on my short commutes to work way back in 1999. My favorite public radio show by far is Marketplace. I'm a business news junkie. Marketplace is hosted by Kai. Kai is one of the few news people I follow on Twitter. I follow him because he's a good filter and retweets things that might prove to be important. I don't think Kai and I would be good friends, but I do respect him. He's smart and makes a very honest attempt to stay connected with how business impacts people in regular places like Erie, MI and Athens, GA. He has hosted Marketplace from these two cities. When Kai interviews people he pushes them to an…

When My Simple Tweet Went Viral

The August heat was nearly unbearable. I arrive at West Orange High School with our three younger kids expecting to find a parking spot painted. We would then pack up and head over to First Watch which is our Saturday morning nosh spot of choice.

Tuns out that seniors at West Orange High School spend almost the entire day in the heat to paint their parking spots. This is tradition. Every year the current seniors paint over the art work from those that graduated the year before.

On this particular Saturday morning with the heat beating down us and kids complaining, I jump in line at the Kona Ice Truck to give the kids some relief. With sweat on the brow and kids clamoring around, I pull out my phone and take a picture of the scene. A minute later, I thumb type two lines of text in the Twitter client to remember the moment. I push the Tweet button at 11:40 AM on August 20th.
My oldest daughter's senior year at West Orange High School. All the seniors paint their assigned parking spo…