Why Being Able to Talk to Your Computer May Change Your Life

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blogConvoComputing
Using conversational computing to create an immersive data experience

We’ve all seen the science fiction movies and television shows where people talk to their houses, cars, or, well, spaceships. Whether it is J.A.R.V.I.S. on Iron Man, the Computer on Star Trek, or GLaDOS in the game Portal, interacting with an interface by simply speaking has become what we expect of the future. What’s very cool from an Emerging Technologies standpoint is that occasionally what we all see on the big screen, I get to see in real life. The age of Conversational Computing is knocking on our door.

It’s not just a gimmick–it’s an information experience

Today we are seeing more and more devices that are interactive. Much like the services on your mobile phone, for example Siri or Alexa, they listen, answer, and respond to our verbal commands. We are evolving to a continuous “information experience” where ambient and perceptual intelligence is becoming possible and the interaction model is immersive and experiential. In other words: we’re getting to the point where our systems are smart enough to understand our conversational and colloquial speech–and be able to respond appropriately, in time, and with intelligence. So what if we could get our voices to be more than just a set of commands?

There are real business drivers which are propelling us to explore conversational computing: whether it’s doctors who need to be able to access the latest medical research in a surgery OR, or if it’s a commuter who’s interacting with his or her personal transportation device–today, that’s just fancy words for an autonomous car–the need to actually be able to interact with systems without using our hands (or even taking our eyes off another task) is increasingly becoming a requirement. In fact, businesses are realizing the potential conversational computing offers: whether it’s controlling and/or interacting with IoT devices, or even exploring analysis of data, conversational computing gives the user a simpler, more intuitive–and some might even say more human–way to interact with the systems which we find ourselves immersed in our daily lives making them easier and more informative.

“…whether it’s controlling and/or interacting with IoT devices, or even exploring analysis of data, conversational computing gives the user a simpler, more intuitive–and some might even say more human–way to interact with the systems which we find ourselves immersed in our daily lives making them easier and more informative.”

Conversational Computing: A Day in the Life…

The video at the beginning of this post was designed to give you a glimpse at how conversational computing might be leveraged, and it was the first time we had demonstrated the proof of concept we built–built on, speaking of emerging technology, services available on the IBM Cloud platform, Bluemix. Tying together 6 services out of the over 100 services available on Bluemix, we were able to build a system that could do everything from check stocks, to analyze numbers in an Excel spreadsheet, and, yes, control (sort of) a drone.

Where it goes from here…

The real potential starts to become obvious when you start connecting conversational computing to other new concepts and initiatives: cognitive computing, pardon the pun, comes to mind. But so does security, accessibility, bioinformatics, and of course nextgen analytics. In fact, conversational computing can be viewed as an enablement technology, but it actually goes much further–which is exactly what we’re exploring today.

I’d like to know your thoughts.

All this said, I’m a firm believer in hearing the thoughts and opinions of others–in fact, that’s where you often get some of the best ideas. If you’re interested in learning more about the technologies IBM Emerging Technologies is exploring, you can visit our On the Horizon website. You can also contact us directly.

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