Monday, 16 september 2019 | Brenda Rodríguez López
The future always hides surprises. Could anyone imagine twenty years ago that we would prefer to chat with a virtual assistant rather than with a human being? Nonetheless, there are more and more people who, before checking a piece of information with a creature of flesh and blood, choose to ask their voice assistant. More and more people also decide to send voice messages to their best friends instead of writing or calling them. In fact, although it may seem paradoxical, younger generations, especially centennials, hate picking up the phone and love having a conversation with a bot. Why is this type of communication taking on a central role in the digital world? What is special about voice assistants that makes them so desirable? What can we expect from the development of this technology?
If something has changed in recent years, it is the pace at which we move. With just a click, we access hundreds of articles about a topic, we find the fastest route to travel to an unknown location or we use messaging apps that enable us to connect immediately with any of our contacts. On the one hand, these types of advances have contributed to carrying out thousands of tasks in an easy manner. On the other, they have made us develop less tolerance for waiting, expectation or delays. Whatever the outcome is, if we consider that we speak three times faster than we write, that voice is our natural vehicle of communication and that we are familiar with connectivity, the success of voice assistants was a really predictable event.
Whois your personal asistant?
Assistants like, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant or Bixby enable us to search information in our smart devices and computers by just asking a question aloud. Undoubtedly, it is a very practical service, but this technology does not only offer this. With it, we can also buy, set reminders, make calls, listen to music, make the shopping list, control household appliances, etc. If we take into account that this technology has just taken off, a universe full of possibilities opens up. Indeed, we have yet to reach that future in which we will be talking with robots as if they were people, but the industry is moving in that direction. The commitment to computational linguistics is a proof of this.
The development and commercialization of smart speakers and voice assistants is gaining strength in the tech industry. According to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, these technologies are already available in 80 countries and, behind the United States and Germany, Spain is the country in which they are penetrating the fastest. This newspaper also quoted the Strategy Analytics report, which reveals that the sale of these devices increased up to 96% (reaching 30.2 million units) in the second quarter of this year.