The Personal Digital Assistants are Coming!

There’s no doubt that these sorts of personal assistants are in our future, and there’s no doubt that they will get better and better VERY quickly.

 
Amazon have been the early mover with their Alexa devices, and they certainly seem like a very nice (and capable) way to extend the Amazon experience into ones home and lifestyle. It will be interesting to see how they take off here when Amazon eventually launches it’s Australian operations. But is there enough depth to an Amazon-based digital assistant? Sure, they can help you buy things from Amazon, but is that enough?
 
Microsoft, Google and Apple are all in this space as well. Apple doesn’t have any stand-alone hardware like this yet, but Siri is probably the most effective of the current crop of AI attendants.
 
I’ve not used Google’s system at all, but I admit I am constantly confused and disappointed by Microsoft’s Cortana. The pool of people who use Windows Phone is ever decreasing, and I’ve had no luck talking to her on Windows 10. As with Amazon, the depth of functionality just isn’t there yet – common things that I would use Cortana for, she simply lacks the capability and integration for (something like such as “Cortana, play Zac Brown Band on Spotify”, isn’t currently possible for instance).
 
I’m convinced that within 5 years we’re going to have entered a new world when it comes to information interaction – systems like this will have become common-place in both our devices and our homes. Waking up and asking Cortana/Alexa/Siri about the news, the weather and what appointments we have on today will be second-nature. Coupled with tech like HoloLens and Augmented Reality, voice-controlled intelligent systems to assist us will massively transform how we interact with information and the world around us.
 
I’m keen to see how capable these early devices are, because that will give us an idea about how close we really are. I suspect a lot closer than we expect.

Matt Russell

I started MattRussell.co as a way to help business owners cut through the confusion and get real value from their IT systems. If you're a business owner who wants to improve your tools, or if you're an IT consultant helping business owners unlock their potential, you'll find something interesting here.

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