Voice Interface - Sci-fi or Reality

Internet DNA Podcast

Voice UI, haptics and even brain chips. Are we creating the perfect world -  and even if we did create the perfect world would we still find something to fight about?




this way we're going to be discussing voice interface, which actually for me is quite a big deal because as a designer I design interfaces. But up until now I've only designed screen interfaces and I do want to be suddenly completely without a job who asked the market when everything moves to voice. So I want to chat about it because, oh, it's, I think it's happening and I want to see where it's going. I mean, if we think about all the voice interfaces that we all know already, what have we got? We've got Alexa,

well, it started with Siri, didn't it?

Sarah [inaudible].

Yup. Uh, Google, Google, Yup. And a myriad of others to be honest. I mean like everybody's got their own, but I think we're all gonna know pretty soon who's gonna win that game? I mean, it's not really may call China is it? I'll pull out. Well [inaudible] honestly, she's the most annoying person left and that will become a game of, of really who dominates that space. And I, I really think it's strange that apple let that go because they'll be the first to market with Siri. I think because Alexa and Google allowed you to build your own intense for it, obviously it becomes a lot more useful for other people rather than just apple themselves.

Yeah, there'll be lots of different ones. I don't think they will. Just one will there.

Well, I think it'd be one, maybe two, but I don't think there'll be six because just looking at it from the other point of view, like if if I want to do something, let's say I want to order a cab. Hm. Yeah. Now if I'm a cap company, I don't want to build a set of intent for six different things.

That's a great question. It's a bit like the APP store.

Yeah. I'm pretty much going up failed for Alexa and Google and maybe apple at the moment just because it's where people are probably on their phone at the moment, but I'm not going to build it for 20 different voice things because in the end it's going to be annoying. Yeah.

I see. I assume did everyone built their own and they had it on their website or instead of their website and it was all a completely different sound low thing. But what you're saying, it's a bit like um, apps in an APP store. Yeah. That I build a voice interface that can be used with Alexa or that

basically you're building, say for Alexa for instance, you build I think would Alexa skills and basically you tell her a bunch of words that might be things like buy, search, find and you tell them what all those words mean and then you give them a load of nouns and those nouns are the things that they're going to be doing the verb on. Do you see what I mean? That's really all voice says like it's here are the verbs you can use, here are the nouns you can use. And then I return a service one way or another.

So let's say I sell art online, which I'll do, I've lacks app to buy, buy art. So yes, if people were saying, Alexa, tell me about modern art, then I could have

let's your show do that. Let's say your skill was called abstract landscapes, but so yeah. And so you could say, Alexa, ask abstract landscapes. Now you're telling her which app you actually want to use. Yeah. So the more obvious one is Alexa, ask Uber to find me a taxi in the next five minutes. Uber App understands, get me a taxi. Your APP doesn't understand. Get me a taxi because it's fairly irrelevant to that abstract landscapes. So that's what I mean about building Alexis skills, which is your building a set. So we could call your APP API. So I could say, Alexa, ask Abby to deliver me three seascapes in a blue gray. And then it could either find three seascapes in a blue gray or it could say, I am only able to find too, well they do. Do you see what I mean? And then you build that skill out to say, okay, well if I don't have three then what do we reply?

So it's, do you know why it's the most laborious thing ever? Unless you're asking it just to do one thing. So let's say if you're doing revision and you write all your notes up and then you feed that in as an XML into Alexa skill and I can say Alexa, ask Dan's revision questions on and then a subject and then it will ask me the questions and it will know the answers so I can give at the answers and you can tell me if I'm right or wrong. So there's a perfectly simple app. It's only going to do one thing is only going to ask me questions. It's not going to do anything else and so I don't have to build a load of intense for it. But obviously the bigger your app becomes, all the more things you want it to do, all the more intelligent you want it to be.

Then memorial repetitive it is. Because if you also think, let, let's say I wanted to buy flowers for someone, so I might say, Alexa, buy me flowers for 15 quid. Alexa, we would probably then say, what type of flowers do you want? Because that would be a normal question to ask when that it would, and I might say any flowers and in which case it will go and find any flowers. But I might say green flowers or red flowers, which would be more likely, or I might say funeral flowers. Think about how many intense just for a flower shop you would actually have to write cause you'd have to think what are all the things that get asked and what are the answers or the further questions we need to ask in order to narrow that down. So it's quite dull to program,

right? Yeah. Because the programming is boring is yeah, cause you want to do thousands of the same boring thing. But it's quite simple. So the interface has been created by, and you're just using it a bit like, I don't know, using liquid to hook into PHP code or something like that. Yeah.

And then you'll, you can lean on Alexis heuristics. So if you say stew, it will kind of understand from the context that you mean a chair. I mean what type of chair you mean? Cause obviously some things in the, especially in the English language have lots of different words that all mean roughly the same thing and different people will use different words to mean the same thing. A Sofa and and and Seti or Lounge or whatever different people call it. It needs to understand that those were all the same thing, but you don't want to program each one of those in, so you're going to lean on some form of heuristics to say all these are a family of words and they all mean the same thing

at the moment you say, I'd like some flowers and funeral thousand and Alexa says, or whoever he is, I've sent some links to your Alexa App, but what you're saying is this progresses. She won't need to say that because there will be skills within her out to go. I've found some here for you. If you liked by them now and you go, yes, use my saved credit card job done. You don't need to click on that.

You will be able to say, Alexa, I'm sure. I bet you can do it now. Alexa ask into flora pulling up the entire floor is APP. Yeah, yeah. Just send me funeral flowers. It's not going to say some links then it's actually going to perform the action. But because you're asking Alexa something that she doesn't naturally do herself, what she's going to do is do a web search and return some values. But companies can create apps that will then specifically, so you can see you starting to see advertising where it says, you know, ask Alexa and then it gives you a name cause that's basically calling the APP. Amazon Echo. I think you actually have to install the apps yourself. So you have to say, you know, Alexa, install into flora and then it will do it. Do you see what I mean? If it exists. So I don't think it has all the apps loaded all the time because that would just be dreadful.

Well that's interesting. I imagine that you'd still go to a website and then you'd start the conversation. So there'd be hundreds of thousands of different. So Alexis, you go to the website, which seems now ludicrous and then you'd start your compensation for the website, but you don't do that. You just, the APP is built for Alexa. Yes. That is in this case a bit like, well exactly like how a native apps happened

and yet you may still be it. Let's say we, let's go back to into floor and I don't know whether they have one or not. So I'm not advertising them. But let's say we were into floor, we may well be able to build Alexa functionality by calling Alexa out of the Amazon web services cloud to say actually you can enable the interim to flora app on your website via Alexa. Now I don't have to ask Alexa how I can actually just directly, it's automatically knows cause I'm on the interflora website that it's going to call the APP into floor. So now I can say by me funeral flowers on the website and it will go find, here are a list of the funeral flowers that we do.

What'd you call saying it? A visual representation from the you using voice chat about that? Yeah, exactly. What's interesting actually is I like typing and much rather type of search query in. Uh, but in fact this goes back to uh, the keyboard, the keyboard that I said it probably will come, but it probably won't come because I see with my children who can't type and can't spell, they are totally sort of at home with asking their computers to do things as opposed to typing. So it very much is changing in the way things are done.

Yeah. And it's the old adage isn't that the critics don't change their mind. They just die. And the fact is is that the change doesn't happen because we all start using voice because it's very unnatural for us. But the change happens because for our children, they couldn't imagine why you would type in the thing. You could lie on Your Sofa and get it delivered. Why would you go to your computer to ask for a pizza when you can just sit on your sofa around, say, deliver me pizza now. And that, that's how it will change. We don't change, our people don't change, you know that.

So what are the types of voice in space or or non screen based into the interfaces are that, I mean a lot of people think about the phone AI, which has probably been around for the longest and it's the most annoying, but that is improving a lot. But what other, what other interfaces are there

signing and not VR weird people in suits, in rooms, that kind of Vr, I'm talking almost like hybrid VR where you have,

well yeah, so you, let's see, we all wear contact lenses that just draw an overlay on to everything that we do. So I don't have to have a phone in my hand. I don't, you know, I, I can imagine this is actually the, where it will really end up. Then it'll just be almost in built into us. And I don't mean like screwed into the back of our head. I mean more like we can just stick contact lens, he type things in. We can stick a little ear buds in. Um, maybe we wear some form of glove type of thing or just like little things on our fingernails that just show her our fingers are and suddenly you can interact with the world with natural gesture

into the rat with a virtual world with natural desta.

Well even the real world, so you could walk past a shop and see something in the window and just buy it, Bang, boom. Because you don't have to walk into a shop. You could just go, right, I'll have that on a loader it and just carry on walking. It will be delivered. It's fine. I'll come tomorrow and probably come in three hours. If you live in a city and that's okay.

Besides buy books, society by all kinds, he won't even get up to go to both past that window. You're the virtually walked past the first so when then you'll be lying in your, your, yeah.

Yeah. I think there will be a, I don't think it will go full on like that. Well, I mean there will be a transition period. At least

I think a William Gibson just has predicted the future. He's been right all along. It's like something in a terrifying way, but the latest but peripheral did I give you that to the red anyway? That is fantastic. And very much about the future of what we're talking about now.

In a funny way, you only need to watch Wally really to understand. So the life in the future. Yeah, but then

if so phi is true, then it's all, most of them are about apocalypse aren't they? Which isn't great.

Well yeah, dysfunction. Dystopia is because like we were saying last week, what these technologies really do is create a divide between those that are enabled and those that are not, I can't remember which book it was, but they had this idea of the arc humans and they were like the remainder human. They were the ones that hadn't been able to augment and they were seen as sort of savages. Like almost like animals. Hey look, that's a possibility. I mean we don't know and just Topia is a much more interesting than just like it's the same old, same old, but with more stuff, which is probably the truth. Do you know what I mean? I don't think it ever goes as pure as we are all going to live in virtual worlds and you know, it'll all be a weird and will be controlled by computers and do odd stuff, which is kind of what we do already.

Does that make your lives easier and take less of our time? The easier not take more of our time.

Well I think that like if you want to see like where it could really interestingly go, I, I mean I think Ian m banks is culture. What were the, where there's no need and no one and you know, and yet still weird stuff happens.

That's weird stuff, Huh?

Yeah. Well, you know, because even if you take away greed and, and like gender and all of those sort of things that we're currently like properly, the things that annoy everybody and make people fight about stuff, it doesn't stop people from finding some reason to have a fight or be awkward or difficult or you know, because just it's intrinsically in our nature to want to not want to break things but to push boundaries almost sort of matrix. We built the perfect world and you all hated it. You know, humans kind of like a of messiness. I like a challenge. They just don't like things being perfect. I think we will, you know, a variety is the spice of life. I think we like that weird stuff happens. People don't like the same old, same old day every day in, day out. I mean she, I'm sure some people do well, I'm not even sure that some people do. It appears that some people do, but I don't know them really. So maybe they don't, they just better at hiding it.

I was just thinking of taking it back from the side fire in the future. And whether it's why do we always end up in Armageddon, but whether it's going to be Armageddon on not taking it back for now. I think the interesting thing is to start building Alexa skills, especially for me as a designer, that's something that I can look at to go in the direction that I feel before we get to putting Emerson had haptic legs and things. This voice interface is going to become much greater part of our lives.

Yeah, but that's enlightenment. It's a pleasure and it's not difficult. It's just tedious. Isn't that from Frazier? He says about ballroom dancing. Is it difficult yet? Boring. Huh? Okay. Anyway, so, well, lovely to talk to you and everybody else out there and next week I think we're going to talk about

blockchain, which I'm a bit nervous. It's going to be a bit boring, so we're going to have to jazz it up somehow and I'm sure we will.

Gotcha. It's not boring. It's, it's complicated sometimes, but actually I think it's quite interesting. Boring yet typically it's actually the sort of interesting and yet sort of it's a solution without a problem in many ways. But anyway, we can talk about that next.

Great. Well now five Oh oh.

Dan & Abi work, talk & dream in tech. If you would like to discuss any speaking opportunity contact us.