It's hard to believe that only a few years have passed since Spike Jonze's prophetic movie 'Her' unsettled audiences with its vision of a society more comfortable talking to its computer operating systems than with each other.
Fast forward three years and users are happily inviting the Internet of Things (IoT) into their homes. Competition is already heating up as Siri, Google Now,Cortana, Facebook M, and Amazon's Alexa continue with their efforts to guide us away from the keyboard or keypad to use our voice instead.
There is another global platform called Viv (Latin for life) on the horizon from the guys who made Siri that has been kept under wraps. This stealth start-up could be about to have its watershed moment if it succeeds in being able to add an intelligent, conversational interface to almost anything.
The system will use your personal preferences and a near-infinite web of connections to provide meaningful answers to those big questions you throw at it or even pre-empt what you will ask next. The most exciting aspect of its capabilities is that it will also be able to teach itself and continually learn and improve which could be a real game changer.
Being able to control almost every device from your smartphone is sadly not going to solve the 21st Century problem of people always staring down at their screens. But maybe the next round of digital assistants will finally persuade us all to look at our surroundings again and start using our voice to control all our gadgets.
The lack of emotional intelligence or empathy from our friendly digital assistants illustrates how this technology still has some way to go before it will truly revolutionize our lives. However, if Viv Labs delivers on its promises, then singularity might be just around the corner after all.
Only a few weeks ago, Ford revealed how users will soon be able to talk to their car using Amazon Echo. This offered a glimpse into our future where Amazon users will be able to manage their home, their cars as well as answering questions or playing music on demand. These early indicators seem to suggest that we might need to brush up on our small talk skills to keep up to speed with our always learning digital assistants of tomorrow.
Personalization is high on the wish list for both consumers and businesses. As users, we want to be treated as the unique individual that we are, and companies know that if they understand your needs and wants it will become much easier to sell you more products or services.
The very concept of artificial intelligence can no longer be dismissed as sci-fi fantasy. With the most powerful tech companies in the world all investing heavily into digital assistants, it appears we better get used to the idea of talking to our devices.