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With the release of Apple’s HomePod, unveiled at WWDC 2017, the race has officially started — we are all waiting to see who will win as the leader in the voice-activated intelligent speaker market.
And while the early adopters get to work integrating these devices into their lives and the late adopters drag their heels because of security fears, we might all still agree that this trend toward voice-activated technology is not showing any signs of slowing down. It’s been around for decades, but recent years have seen it trickle down into our cars, phones, fridges, and even lamps. Perhaps home domination by these intelligent speakers and their virtual assistants is a sign that we’re on the tipping point of another technological revolution.
After all, underpinning the voice-activated tech race is a subtle but powerful message that both warns and heralds that screen time is vanishing.
Why screens cannot compete with the human voice
According to the American Linguistic Society, when we use speech as a way to convey and gather information, we are tapping into a deeper, more primal part of our humanity. While we’ve only been writing for roughly 6,000 years, we’ve been speaking for much longer than that. Children are talking by the time they’re two years old, but writing (especially legibly) takes much more time. Truly, human-to-human interaction through speech is the original user interface.
It makes sense, then, that when we want to quickly check the weather, the sports score, or our flight departure time, we should ask out loud, rather than load a webpage, type in a search, sift through the results, and read the information.
Granted, there are some search terms for which we would not want the results announced out loud (for example, “find nearby jewelry stores that sell engagement rings”) and others where the results will be visual (“show me…
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