Chatbot News, Emerging Technology

What’s the Future of AI Voice Assistants?

Voice assistants have transformed our daily lives, and they're becoming more capable and useful as time goes by. Here are our top predictions for the future of AI voice assistants.

October 16, 2020

Ten years ago, the idea of an AI voice assistant in your pocket, activated at the touch of a button—or even a specific word—seemed impossible. These days, if you have a smartphone, you probably have access to one of these assistants. From Apple Siri to Microsoft Cortana, these bots have developed at lightning speed, transforming the way we interact with technology and with our surroundings. Juniper Research recently published a study that noted that by 2024, the number of voice assistants in use could surpass 8.4 billion, and top tech experts are clamoring to find out what’s next in this field.

A truly personal assistant

If you reach into your pocket right now and ask your device what the weather will be like for the next week, it will answer you efficiently. These assistants are great at providing factual responses to almost any question you have. However, many of them fail due to their inability to tailor their information to the specific user they’re talking to, oftentimes providing generic answers.

Many AI voice experts predict that in the near future, our AI voice assistants will be able to not just provide information but also to present it with a critical lens. For example, if you were to ask a voice assistant for a list of medications, it would not only list the medications but would also cross-reference them to determine any potentially dangerous interactions among them. In fact, Apple has even indicated that it hopes to have Siri to be equipped for health-focused conversations with users by 2021. The development of this technology will open up a whole new range of uses, making these assistants even more helpful.

Breaking the feedback loop

As AI voice assistants become more flexible and develop capabilities to adjust to our habits and patterns, it’s essential to program them to understand when they’re getting it wrong or right. Currently, they’re limited in their ability to understand human intent. For example, if you tell yours to turn on the lights every night at the same time and it eventually starts doing so without asking, and one day you tell it to stop, it has no framework set up to understand why. Programmers will be including many feedback mechanisms so your personal voice assistant can become more tuned into the intents behind requests.

Deepened interactions

Right now, these assistants may be able to use our voices as their primary interaction methods, but with their increased integration into other daily devices, they may soon be able to interact with us outside of our voices. With experts currently working on deepening facial recognition technology and emotion-tracking AI, we may soon be able to use these assistants in brand new ways. Although this may just seem like fun technology, these developments could have extremely important real-world applications. For example, if such an assistant could detect urgency or strong emotions when a user requests a call to 911, it could streamline the call and ensure that the user receives the necessary help. Similarly, facial recognition could allow them to read lips so users wouldn’t even be required to speak.

Increasingly secure

Security is a growing concern for many AI voice assistant users. As the technology grows more complicated and increasingly able to provide more complex options, such as scheduling an Uber or dealing with banking information and payments, their future rests on users’ ability to feel secure using them.

For example, voice payments will be an area of focus for developers, as they will aim to make them both more secure and more convenient. Verification of users’ identity through vocal recognition is also predicted to be implemented, alongside ID recognition software.

What’s next?

The many changes in the future of this technology will have a profound impact on the digital space as a whole. With a lack of visual features, researchers suggest that search behaviors from users will see a big change. New research from Adobe finds that 48 percent of consumers use voice assistants for general web searches, indicating that advertisers and marketers may be offering new options from Google and Amazon to provide other forms of paid advertising.

What we know for sure is that many exciting changes will be coming in the future of voice assistants, giving them new tools to solve both everyday and extraordinary problems.