I read this article about “ubiquitous computing or intelligence augmentation” – the idea that computers will no longer be devices we turn on, but so integrated into our everyday environment that we can ask them to do things without even lifting a finger.
“Siri” anyone? Our our very own desi version “Aisha” by Micromax?
The article mostly focused on Google’s efforts into integrating into our daily lives. To go back a little, this phenomenon was actually started by Apple with the Iphone. It was the actual beginning of integration of computing with our daily lives. PCs were just to get work done. And then the other tech giants couldn’t stay away from the action, could they? Along came Android. Google’s baby has been the only real contender to Apple in this segment.
The article gave an example of a group of people at a party talking about something. They use Google search to confirm a fact related to the topic. It seems Google is not happy with it. They feel like they are the uninvited guests in such conversations. They want to be part of it and the future research seems to be headed in that direction.
They want to be with you when you want entertainment. Voila! You have Google Smart TV. They want to travel with you. Voila! You have Google glasses. Now they want screens in your kitchen walls and dining tables. Voice commands are already in fashion! Yeah there are just fashion now and something to show off. But soon they will be highly effective in communicating. Apple’s Siri, the voice activated assistant can already discuss about new movies, sports and restaurants. Google seems very upbeat about it, directing lot of research effort towards this. For example they have identified spikes in mobile search queries during meal times, concluding people need information when they are together and away from their computers. Smart! So now they want themselves to be integrated into homes, in walls and tables or any possible furniture. So if you are having a party at home or a family get-together and a hot debate is on, you can always shout to your wall or the tables for factual confirmation. Wonder if people will name their different devices like pets, ‘Andrio’ [taken from android] in the table and ‘Googs’ in the wall, ‘Smarty’ in the TV!! [Voice command in Samsung smartphones are already named. You have to call ‘Hi Galaxy’ to activate it.] They will always be ON and listen to what you say and respond accordingly as someone voicing opinion. Great concept! Everyone will soon have a “female” friend with a vaguely robotic voice answering questions in conversations!
Quoting 2 examples from the article itself – If people are discussing the migratory patterns of monarch butterflies over dinner, the devices will be able to hear that and present a map, OR when you meet someone, your glasses could show you the person’s latest social accounts statuses and your last email exchange.
Others are not too far. Apple already has SIRI and its continuously evolving with time. Microsoft is experimenting with computers that understand gestures and voice. This is already employed in gaming consoles. [ there was once a funny occasion where I saw a guy trying out tennis on a gesture enabled Kinect console in a mall! I mean he was all over the place. Only if he could actually join a tennis academy!] IBM is teaching machines to learn and interact with people.
Do check out this video on Pranav Mistry, an Indian computer scientist who is working on a technology known as Sixthsense. SixthSense is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.
I wonder where all this will take us! I mean now most of us are almost at mercy of our phones. My smartphone is inseparable from me and I cannot bear a single day when my internet is not working or my phone is down even with the smallest lag. These tech companies are spoiling us. But I’m not complaining, bring it on! I saw the preview of Google glasses and can’t wait to try it. Its not just about giving complete packages, sometimes its just fun to know where you are headed and how things will be. Because everything is in the process of evolving continuously. I have seen the journey of Android from v1.6 to v4.1. Every time a new version comes out its like little kid’s excitement to try it out. It wouldn’t be the same if you are to get a complete and perfect package once and for all. In this field I’m backing Google. No one does it better than them in managing information and data.
Everytime a new interacting device is launched I will be there. Be it shouting at walls, or talking to the table, or wearing one, I will be there to try it all! Coz for me, in the end its about the journey, and never about the end!