Virtual assistants are growing in popularity and a recent research project from Goldsmiths and Mindshare suggests that people will eventually become completely reliant on them, even to the point of implanting them in their bodies.
Today's prototype VAs, like Apple's Siri, have a predetermined range of services, but future versions will allow users to tailor VAs to their needs and will have a variety of tools developed by organizations around the world to help them.
These VAs of the future will be equipped with emotional recognition systems, natural language recognition and beacon technology to do just about everything, from monitoring your health to managing your finances. VAs will know their users intimately, and will even be able to make sound decisions for you.
“In theory the virtual assistant becomes something that knows you better than you know yourself,” Chris Brauer, co-director of CAST at Goldsmiths, University of London, said in a Factor story. He adds that the first VAs will be available in about four to five years.
The report followed an extensive ethnographic research study and has found many areas in which people would welcome the help of a VA. It would liaise with other VAs to let users know when a community or social gathering is taking place. It could also help people keep up with their personal budgets and even let you know when a purchase is a good deal. They will also be able to help you find a great restaurant based on crowd knowledge, or even alert you when you should wear sunscreen.
The most useful part of VAs will likely be their collective intelligence. Each will be able to tap into information to learn just about anything, including, for example, how to help someone suffering from depression.
Brauer notes that human reliance on VAs will eventually lead to having them implanted into our bodies, something that will one day seem normal.
“We will see implants with this, no question,” Brauer said in Factor.
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