The next few years will see voice automation take over many aspects of our lives. Although voice won’t change everything, it will be part of a movement that heralds a new way to think about our relationship with devices, screens, our data and interactions.
We will become more task-specific and less program-oriented. We will think less about items and more about the collective experience of the device ecosystem they are part of. We will enjoy the experiences they make possible, not the specifications they celebrate.
In the new world I hope we relinquish our role from the slaves we are today to be being back in control.
Voice won’t kill anything
The standard way that technology arrives is to augment more than replace. TV didn’t kill the radio. VHS and then streamed movies didn’t kill the cinema. The microwave didn’t destroy the cooker.
Voice more than anything else is a way for people to get outputs from and give inputs into machines; it is a type of user interface. With UI design we’ve had the era of punch cards in the 1940s, keyboards from the 1960s, the computer mouse from the 1970s and the touchscreen from the 2000s.
All four of these mechanisms are around today and, with the exception of the punch card, we freely move between all input types based on context. Touchscreens are terrible in cars and on gym equipment, but they are great at making tactile applications. Computer mice are great to point and click. Each input does very different things brilliantly and badly. We have learned to know what is the best use for each.
Voice will not kill brands, it won’t hurt keyboard sales or touchscreen devices — it will become an additional way to do stuff; it is incremental, not cannibalistic.