Digital assistants have made our tasks easier in our day-to-day lives. You only need investment in time, and workforce giants like Samsung, Amazon, Apple, and Google are directing us towards it.
Today personal digital assistants have moved beyond just being a mechanism to set alarms. We are seeing them connected in our smart homes, smart electronics, and even cars.
Today, we are even seeing them as intelligent speakers. We have already witnessed the launch of Google Glass and wireless earbuds.
Soon, we will see NASA coming up with a silent technology to co-ordinate and communicate with the personal digital assistants with either muscle movements or nerve impulses.
Future of personal digital assistants
The future of personal digital assistants is quite bright. Let’s now divert our attention to some things that we can expect from personal digital assistants in the near future.
With time, we will see emerging technologies becoming more and more complex, and personal digital assistants are no different.
With the advent of artificial intelligence, we will see digital assistants able to learn from their users in the future.
Based on its learning, the software can make appropriate updates and adjustments to personalize itself to the user.
Although this might seem to be like science fiction, the concept is already in use in other areas.
A prime example is that some voice recognition system learns their users’ typical pronunciations to provide more precise results regarding dictation over some time.
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Quite a bit of similarity to human personal assistants
If you ever watched a commercial of people utilizing digital assistant technology, you might have heard them asking questions like – What sounds does a whale make? And then make requests like – Show me nearby Australian restaurants.
This pretty neat software can respond precisely to these types of queries.
However, to most people, digital assistants still seem more like a toy than a practical tool.
We will see personal digital assistants acquire new capabilities that can make them truly useful to users in the near future.
Some of these capabilities might include:
- Waking you up on a pre-approved time on the basis of the ideal point for your sleep cycles. It will automatically co-ordinate your daily schedule and activities with your other electronic devices.
- Scrutinizing traffic patterns to suggest the best time to leave your home in the morning.
- Automatically order your wife’s favorite flowers for her birthday.
- Preparing minutes of meetings you attend and creating a to-do list on the basis of planned objectives.
- Providing supportive information on the basis of the work project you are working on.
The role of personal digital assistants in health and wellness
Today customers already have access to high-tech devices to monitor their health status. Wearable fitness trackers are a prime example.
A wearable tracker even specializes in tracking the biomarkers of stress to encourage users to become mindful of their anxiety levels.
In the near future, we will have personal digital assistants entering the field of health and wellness.
With the help of these digital assistants, it will become easier for the doctors to monitor a user’s blood pressure throughout the day, send the details to the respective doctor, and notify the users about updated prescriptions the doctor creates on the basis of that data.
Personal digital assistants – Our ally or a detective
With time as people have become overly reliant upon personal digital assistants and their existence has created a massive impact on our lives, the question of privacy becomes very critical.
Suppose the personal digital assistants of the future can track routines, predict choices, and shape opinions; what will the company responsible for such assistants do with that kind of data?
Today, most companies want users to purchase proprietary systems, wherein a company produces all the products they can hold much leverage on their customers.
According to Spivak, the future of personal digital assistants need to incorporate certain attorney-client like privileges. This is crucial to make it more trustworthy.
In the same way, imagine the devices are able to handle sensitive personal data; what if there is a security breach?
The amount of information recorded by personal digital assistants will surely drive a new era of hacking.
This will make companies leading personal digital assistants and government entities direct investments towards counter cyber-security measures.
Use of personal digital assistants in the professional sphere
Today, personal digital assistants are no longer only used in private lives.
Companies like Google and Nokia have prepared their very own dedicated enterprise or professional assistants.
A prime example of that is Google’s cloud search that provides enterprise customers with a wide array of information resembling an interface to Google Now.
It is based on the company’s over-dependence upon Google cloud and Google services. It is expected to include third-party applications at a later date.
It utilizes the Google search engine and in-built machine learning capabilities to organize and arrange information for its enterprise users.
There is a subtle difference between Google Cloud Search and its home assistants, as Google Cloud search provides information and knowledge on the basis of professional and business commitments.
So, you can even say Google cloud can replace the office secretary with an efficient AI alternative that can manage meetings, handle endless amounts of information and knowledge, and present everything pertaining to a specific meeting or business commitment on any digital assistant supporting electronic platform.
In the same way, Nokia has launched the Multi-Purpose Intuitive Knowledge Assistant (MIKA), a digital assistant that dedicatedly works along with engineers.
This personal digital assistant perfectly uses the combo of augmented intelligence and automated learning to provide ingenious engineering solutions to telecom operators.
MIKA then co-ordinates and computes past data and provides solutions to problems on the basis of certain successful methods.
Google Cloud Search and MIKA provide insightful details into the trends of personal digital assistants.
As professional life takes precedence over personal life due to extra hours and constant connectivity, the future worker may want to draw a fine line between the two.
With the help of specialized personal digital assistants separately for personal and professional lives, the user will manage to restrict focus and not be confused with an overload of information.
Dedicated enterprise and business assistants will act as a distinct profile for the workers. They will orient them towards the requisite information and knowledge for business without disturbing their personal lives.
The social dilemma
From the very first day of their introduction, personal digital assistants are becoming more and more human.
These assistants today can remember details of behavior and preferences and react to need accordingly.
Keeping this in mind, users have started to develop an emotional bond with these personal digital assistants.
This same concept was used in the Hollywood movie – Her, where the protagonist falls in love with his personal digital assistant.
But, looking at the things in the fore, it is no longer fiction!
More recently, a Japanese company released Gateway, a virtual assistant consisting of a 3D hologram, who, besides being a virtual assistant, can even act as a pseudo-girlfriend!
The future society is slowly but gradually moving towards a more individualized lifestyle, which leads to loneliness.
As personal digital assistants become an integral part of our lives and gain some emotional maturity, we are expected to be even more deeply connected to them. However, this connection itself will lead to a problem.
As the assistants shape around the personal preferences of individuals, they might have a shelf life of self-created realities.
As humans start to use personal digital assistants as their partners, they will become more and more reliant on these so-called personal assistants.
The only problem with that is it will increase the need for people to become alone. There will be a time when people fall short of understanding how to communicate with others.
On top of this, the individual will lose the need to be social.
If people adopt this type of behavior, services too will shape to suit this particular lifestyle.
So, anything from entertainment to health services will be developed with the least human interaction and more communication through personal digital assistants.
The entire market dynamics will change, and we will no longer see the same mechanism we perceive now!
The future of personal digital assistants looks full of possibilities that can be as dark as you can imagine.
With the digital assistants trying to replicate their human counterparts, it is now time to ensure that we restrict our usage of this modern technology.
We do not want to enslave ourselves with advanced technology that makes us more aloof from other human beings.
Hence, it is about time to change how we approach personal digital assistants in our day-to-day lives.62
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published December 09, 2021, Updated February 28, 2023