Monday, 13 February 2017

I've seen the future: You get a real butler, not Siri, Alexa or Google.

Today we're toying with corporatist assistants from Google, Apple and more.  They can influence our vote to support a Trudeau and shun a Trump.   They shape the news we see, guess the ads and maps we will ask for and stand ready to answer whims day or night. Google tells me it's time to leave for the airport because it read the ticket in my inbox, offers a map of YVR while I'm there and comes up with a review page of the restaurant I'm sitting in.   Our characters are so varied that ultimately only a custom product will serve.  This means default "OK Google" and "Siri" software will be displaced by hundreds of competing and customizable apps that will be like a friend and like a servant.

Authors Ezrachi and Stucke write:
 "As the digital butler seamlessly provides more of what interests us and less of what doesn’t, we will grow to like and trust it. Communicating in our preferred language, our assistant will develop the ability to anticipate and fulfill our needs and requests. They can do so, based on our connections, data profile, behavior, and so forth.     The digital assistants have the potential to usurp the current super-platforms, namely Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Not surprisingly, each of these companies is now seeking to become our digital personal assistant. The winner will become our primary interface."
I disagree with the last sentence.  The big players will have an influence, just as Windows can be found in many computers without controlling what you do on them.  Competition demanded by the millions of nearly unique users means big players will be swamped by startups.  Compare how a few network broadcasters and newspapers owned the news twenty years ago and now dozens of medium sized sources and thousands of smaller ones are being watched and read every day.

I look forward to my first fully customizable butler, available online and off-line, a butler with a sense of humour that amuses me, a butler who can take a hint, that will go look for stuff I need or am curious about, a butler who asks unobtrusively if I want to send a thank you note to Aunt Tottie for the slippers.

Neil Stephenson wrote about a future where you buy a suitcase and say"Follow me" to it.  The rest is looked after.   We'll be shopping for personal assistants too and saying, "Follow me!".

No comments:

Post a Comment