Starting in early childhood, humans interface with each other primarily using their voices. In the computer era, people have had to adjust to communicating using methods the machines could understand, starting with punch cards, then moving on to written commands expressed in specialized programming languages and then adopting graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
With the advent of conversational chat bots like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Siri, humans now can interact with machines on the own terms, using simple voice commands. For these AI systems, the task of transcribing the spoken word is paramount in understanding the user’s intent.
Most current voice-recognition technology systems simply interpret commands and execute them, similar to early computers. However, these systems now are beginning to converse with humans rather than simply take instructions.
The Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger and Comcast X1 services have started to change the paradigm from instruction to conversation. This is an exciting new advancement in human-computer interaction that’s creating an environment in which humans feel subconsciously “connected” to computer intelligence via two-way communication.
For example, if someone asks Alexa for the top movies playing nearby, Alexa can either answer with a concise list, or it could ask the user a set of questions to further hone the results, such as “What movie genre would you prefer today?”
Many of the lessons learned from preceding messaging apps have transcended into these conversational interfaces and are now being used to drive business services like requesting an Uber ride or ordering items from Amazon. The future belongs to companies who can master the conversational interface by using transcription and natural language processing technologies to create personal assistants that can augment human capabilities.
Pratik Dhebri is senior director of product management at Veritone and is truly democratizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) by orchestrating best-of-breed cognitive engines. He works with AI developers and cognitive engine providers to architect and monetize algorithms and applications. Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.