The ability to do more with less effort is a biological constant that finds replication in the world of technology in the most varied and unexpected ways. Sometimes these advances are even disembodied, such is the case of the increasingly widespread digital assistants .
Gone are the times in which these two words made the consumer imagine ingenios today as anachronistic as the butler of Rocky IV . The assistant of the future is omnipresent, omniscient and (almost universally) feminine. All the knowledge of the network of networks is now available to our vocal chords , and is that thanks to advances in speech recognition and artificial intelligence we can ask our phone what day will do or if we must leave home five minutes before to get to work.
The voice assistants began to gestarse more than three decades ago with the creation of the first computerized dictation tools, but they did not become something everyday until the launch of Siri, the happy assistant of Apple. Since then they have been adding others like Alexa and Cortana, first to look for information in a simpler way and then to simplify the lives of its users . And as your intelligence grows, so do your possibilities.
Hey Siri, find me a taxi
Siri has been an integral part of iOS for more than five years, an experience that has allowed Apple to create one of the most versatile voice attendees of the moment. Its functions are really extensive ; so much that they are not always obvious. Many people who use it daily do not know that, in addition to sending WhatsApp messages or entering appointments in the calendar, Siri integrates with iOS applications to make it possible to order a taxi without having to dial a number or search the corresponding application.
As it can not be otherwise, Siri is available on all Apple devices, from the iPhone to Mac computers, through the iPad , Apple TV and the new HomePod smart speaker.
Tell me a joke, Cortana (but it’s good)
Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant, has a particularly jocular facet . The artificial intelligence of the famous saga of videogames Halo can animate the deadliest hours of its users with a repertoire of jokes more extensive than you would expect in a tool usually used to read email, manage the agenda or control the lights of home And in addition, his imitation of Chiquito de la Calzada is impeccable.
Introduced as a companion to the Lumia range of phones, Cortana can be integrated into any Windows 10 computer .
Alexa, I want my steak to the point
The kitchen at low temperature is fashionable. Joan Roca and his revolutionary conception of haute cuisine has promoted the creation of gadgets for kitchens such as the Anova immersion circulators, which thanks to the Amazon assistant can be controlled by voice commands . Here there is only one drawback, and that is that this infallible click still does not understand Spanish, although Amazon already works in a version adapted to the language of Cervantes.
@google, remind me to congratulate mom
If Apple and Microsoft have their own assistants, Google would not be less. Recently, the search engine firm announced the availability of a preliminary version of its assistant for Android and iOS-based phones , and while it is currently focused on using text messages within the Allo application , it will soon gain new features. Meanwhile (and although you have to use your fingers), the Google assistant already allows you to check the sports calendar, add reminders and even search for games in the Android app store.
Currently Google is closing agreements with some phone manufacturers to integrate their assistant devices such as some international versions of the LG G6 .
BMW, when do I have to change the oil?
Soon the only thing that KITT will have fantastic will be its jumps with turbo boost . Companies like Hyundai, Ford and BMW work hard to integrate voice assistants from companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft in their cars, sometimes with features as practical as they are unexpected. This is the case of BMW, which will use Microsoft cloud services to predict vehicle maintenance and provide relevant information to the driver without having to look away from the menus of the central console.
A future that is now
The voice assistant is on track to become that friend who one day came to say hello and ended up becoming a roommate. And although mobile phones are now their natural habitat, new integration platforms are rapidly emerging . There’s the Apple Watch , which connects to the iPhone to use Siri from the wrist. But that’s just the beginning.
The communication between the most diverse devices allows for example to speak with a Nest thermostat connected to a smart Amazon Echo speaker to regulate the temperature of the room, or turn on the lights of the kitchen talking directly to an Apple HomePod. Even more flexibility is provided by Cortana, since being an integral part of Windows 10 can be integrated into any home automation system based on the Microsoft operating system . Thus, a Raspberry Pi minicomputer can be used to raise the blinds or open the garage door.
The voice assistants of the future, in fact, will be decentralized. There will be no need to carry a phone, since all the devices of the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) will be perpetually connected to the cloud . A good example is in the LG Smart InstaView refrigerator (not yet available in Spain), which incorporates Alexa to quickly solve the shopping list.
The progressive integration of this type of technologies in a greater number of devices and their access to information such as the user’s browsing history or the monitoring of the use of their applications will provide companies like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft the ability to create assistants much more precise than until now. Also much more intelligent and simple to use, making it more accessible to older people .
The latest advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning go beyond voice recognition. Interpreting words contextually instead of literally will make tomorrow’s digital assistants much more flexible, while the ability to predict situations and orders that have not yet taken place will allow for an authentic dialogue between the consumer and their devices . The days when a refrigerator only kept food fresh will soon be a thing of the past.