Languages Magazine

Speed & the Future of Intelligent Assistants

By Expectlabs @ExpectLabs

How will intelligent assistants get faster in the next few years? Listen to the first installment  in our series on the elements that will define the next age of smart personal assistants.


I am putting together a four-part video blog series about the the things that today’s intelligent assistants need to do in order to get much better so that we use them everyday. When I say intelligent assistants, I’m talking about products like Apple’s Siri and potentially, Google Voice Search. And these products will and need to get better. They need to be faster, number one, two, more accurate, three, smarter, four, anticipatory.

Today I’m going to be talking about how intelligent assistants are going to get faster over the next few years. Now when I say faster, I’m not talking about being able to return with an answer more quickly, I’m talking about how the use case needs to change so that we get feedback immediately and can get the information that we want without without having to waste a lot of time. Now if you think about the experience of intelligent systems today it’s not that great. Typically, the way that it will work is you pull your phone out of your pocket, unlock it or turn it on, you press a button, you then ask a question like you’re talking to a 5 year old. You wait for a couple seconds while the service thinks and then it comes back with an answer. If you get the wrong answer, which happens a lot these days, you have to go back and do the whole thing again. It only takes a couple of times getting a wrong answer to realize you’re never going to use Siri ever again. All of that we think can be fixed by a better use case. In fact we think that the only point where people will actually start using intelligent assistants is if they can get to the answer faster than they could by typing a search into a search engine on their laptop and we think that’s a very possible case today.

So how is this going to happen, how are these search engines going to get faster? Well, picture this. A better way for this intelligence to operate is not for you to wait to show you an answer and ask questions. They way it should work is more like how Google Suggests works today. As soon as you start typing, it starts showing you what it thinks that you want and also shows you results it thinks are accurate. Then you can refine your query to get better over time. This is the way intelligent assistants will work. As soon as you start talking The intelligent assistant will start showing you what are things you said as well as things might answer your questions or find what you’re looking for and I In most cases when you’re asking common questions, you’re going to get that information probably before you even finish asking the question. The benefit of this approach is that if the assistant doesn’t understand you for some reason, it doesn’t understand your accent using a word it doesn’t understand, you find out immediately and can make mid- course corrections as to what you’re saying as opposed to having to wait until your question is done to get the results. Even better, and maybe this will happen too, would be say you’re having an argument with your friend about whether William Shatner is in the new Star Trek movie by J.J. Abrams. A better solution would be if have your Google Glasses on or your smart watch and if those devices were actually paying attention to the conversation and overheard what you were saying and then had the judgment to actually to know that they should get the answer to that question so you could just press a button on your watch or on your Google glasses or on your smartphone to get the answer for you. That would be even better I don’t know if that’s going to happen in the next five years, but it certainly might. Anyway, that’s how intelligent assistants will and much faster.

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