Can Our Voices Turn Us Into Cyborgs?
January 15, 2019
By Michal Hrabi in Blog
There’s a computer on every desktop and smartphone in every pocket. They have upgraded human capabilities, reach and connectivity. The world has become small. This is the future we dreamed of, this is the future that is already here. But what is going to happen next? Are we going to be dependent on AI? Have we become cyborgs?
In the beginning was the Word [John 1:1]… and muscles to do the work. Humankind was able to do make and do things with their bare hands. We improved over time and started using hand-held super technologies (such as axes, shovels, bows, etc.) that lasted for centuries. But still, human muscles were needed. And that is not very scalable from a business perspective. So we created steam machines and entered the first industrial revolution. Productivity started to rise. One person could create 10x more value than before.
The second industrial revolution was led by the wild adoption of electricity, mass production and assembly lines, and the third with the invention of transistors, which enabled the greatest advancement = the computer revolution. A PC on every desk and a mobile device in every hand. We control the outside world with keyboards, mice and touchscreens.
We are living in a thrilling era where a new industrial revolution led by the huge adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is happening. A new level of automation is about to be reached. Machines will program machines, but we are not there yet.
Touch devices have been adopted over the last 8 years, but they are still just a fancier “keyboard” to tell the machine what to do. But what if I knew just which problem I needed to be solved and didn't know the right path to the solution? Such scenarios are in our natural behavior when we are explaining our problem to somebody wiser who can help us. And this is what people will expect from AI. We will see a more problem-solving approach from digital assistants and robots in the future, for both personal and enterprise worlds.
It is hard to change people's habits, so the voice interface is expected to be the most-adopted human-computer interaction interface since it will allow people to speak to technology in a similar way in which they speak to their colleagues. Then true digital assistants will be born, such as Jarvis from Ironman.
A Seamless Experience
People will expect to access their data and personalized advice anywhere, at anytime. If we always have our devices in our pockets, such as the smartphone today, everything will be fine. But devices will become less necessary, possibly not even necessary anymore in the future. Why? Even current devices are more of a "window for content" that is stored somewhere else. It is a display. A clever, small and expensive display. But once the cost of screens becomes so low that you will have screen everywhere (from a restaurant table to home wallpaper), the same screen will be used by many people to display their data. Then, some identification will be necessary to call our personal assistant out from the cloud and secure the content.
How is it going to feel? Let’s take an example from our homes. If you enter a room in the night, you know where a light switch is. It is so natural that we don’t think about it. And we don’t think about how the electricity is created and delivered to our house and to the light that we want to turn on. Knowledge of the existence of the light switch is enough to enjoy the wonder and benefit of electricity. The same will be with AI, personal assistants and the whole infrastructure behind. Voice interfaces will be so natural that we will not intentionally think about AI. We will just consume the benefit of AI being omnipresent, understanding our needs. Voice biometrics is a potential way to perform the identification.
In such a future, I can walk and talk to "my" personal assistant anywhere, accessing data, apps and knowledge wherever I am (now talking in my car, then entering the office, accessing personal selection videos in a bar during the evening, etc.) with a high degree of security, without a personal handheld device. We will have a seamless AI experience.
Speech technology will enable us to get the personalized content even without using a personal device.
Cyborgs on the Rise
Technology is already enhancing our human capabilities. Smartphones allow us to retrieve answers for trivia questions in a couple of seconds (instead of searching in old encyclopedias). We don't need to memorize it if we know where to find it. So we are enhancing our memory in a digital way already.
With a voice interface, the retrieval of information is much faster, more productive. With AI hidden beneath the voice interface, more automation and clever tools will be possible, allowing complex collaboration with AI, enhancing our human capabilities.
What would be even more convenient than using the voice? Probably using just our mind. In the future, a mind-connected interface will allow immediate access to enhanced (and unlimited) memory, fast communication, even person to person, since we think faster than we speak, and much more. We will be cyborgs, posthumans, fused with AI.
And on the seventh day Man ended His work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made [Genesis 2:2].