Steven Tam sat on the AI: Hype vs. Reality Panel at TribalScale’s 2017 TakeOver Innovation Conference. Here are some of his afterthoughts on how voice has the potential to change the tech world, and how we interact with it.
For the last decade we’ve been tapping palm sized screens to control the technology around us. Every new device means a new app, or tiny screen accompanied by plastic buttons, and a never-ending mental exercise to remember how that particular contraption works. If the number of connected devices in our lives is about to skyrocket as predicted, we are going to be very overwhelmed with the immense amount of interacting technologies around us.
It’s time for a new interface.
While the rise of voice feels frustrating at times, “Alexa, stop,” voice interaction presents us with the opportunity of a new interface that solves many of the technical hardships that have so far been piling up. As AI assistants improve their understanding of natural language, they are becoming far more useful in our day-to-day lives. Voice has the ability to replace many of our apps, it is faster than typing on a thumb-sized keyboard, and it simplifies our mental load when it comes to remembering how our technology works. Voice also democratizes access to our connected world — my mother would never be able to change the temperature on my Nest thermostat, but she could easily ask her voice tech to turn up the heat.
Nowadays we are increasingly aware and familiar with concerns that revolve around who is listening on the other side of our Amazon Echo or Google Home. Our homes are our safe spaces, and what is said between you and your family should be kept private — this is why privacy and security need to be of paramount importance as Voice AI makes its way from science fiction to Best Buy.
Voice is a biometric marker, much like your fingerprint. Your voice can be used as a means of identification, but can also be impersonated. As a customer of a Voice AI product, you should have full control over who has access to your voice interactions, and who knows where that data lives. Today, when we talk to Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, our voice signatures are sent over the internet to servers, are analyzed, processed, and stored. Isn’t it time to have Voice AI assistants that respect privacy while bringing us the future we’ve been promised?
At the 2017 TakeOver Conference, our panel “AI: Hype vs. Reality” dove into the ethical concerns, future possibilities, and common misconceptions of AI. Such questions and issues are quickly becoming some of the most important when we talk about our future, and technology’s role within it.
Despite what we’ve been told, it IS possible to have AI powered products that also protect your data privacy. At Snips.ai, we launched an AI Voice platform that allows connected device companies to integrate voice interaction while also protecting user privacy. Watch for companies who believe in Privacy by Design, and let’s collectively demand more from those who make the products that are powering and guiding our future.
Steve is the VP of Marketing at Snips, an AI and Voice company based in both Paris and New York. Snips recently launched the first platform that allows developers and companies to build voice assistants that truly protect user privacy. Previously, Steve launched Indiegogo in Canada, and was the Co-Founder of Simcoe Bicycles, which was acquired in 2014. Steve was also named in Marketing Magazine’s 30 Under 30.
For more discussion on how businesses can identify and maximize on AI opportunities, watch this clip of Karthik Ramakrishna’s spotlight chat. He’s the Director of Strategy and Solutions at Element AI, a Montreal-based AI platform and incubator.