Voice assistants, what are they?

The possibility of communicating with an artificial intelligence was pure utopia until a decade, when such interactions were simply limited to the imagination of the writers of the Hollywood world.

Giving commands to a computer has always required the use of a keyboard or, in any case, an interface that acted as a link between human thought and the actual execution by the electronic components.

Today, however, things have changed, and the first artificial intelligences are coming out of development centers and populate the homes of users.

Among the first voice assistants aimed at consumers, we find Siri, developed by Apple and present on all the company’s devices starting with the iOS 5 software version.

Microsoft, for example, developed Cortana, making it available for its devices like Windows Phone, Windows 10, and even the Xbox One game console.

For those wondering what their actual capabilities are, it is easy to say.

These artificial intelligences allow you to carry out conversations, send SMS, set alarm clock and also get various types of information such as weather forecasts, restaurants, telephone numbers, cinema shows, directions and anything that can be useful in everyday life using only your voice.

Thus simplifying the search operations, especially if you have your hands full.


Amazon and Google take the field

Other big names in the sector could not therefore stand by and even Google and Amazon have thus taken this path.

The first with its Google Home while the online sales giant has developed Amazon Echo, which allows you to interact with Alexa.

These two devices expand the concept of voice assistant, implementing it in the home environment in order to make the home “smart”.

But what are the real potential of voice assistants and why are they so appreciated? Partly the reason is in the desire for greater convenience by consumers.

It is much easier to ask your voice assistant to search for a song to listen to it in real time while you are cooking, working or in any other situation in which there is no distraction.

The convenience does not end here as they can also search for information on the net and give you accurate answers about commercial products, learning your search patterns and then proposing solutions that suit you.

Assistants and Smart TVs

At the moment, they link the voice assistant available to the brand of the device purchased, so you have to choose the most suitable one according to your needs.

However, things may change soon as South Korean home Samsung, best known for smartphones, tablets and TVs, has announced third-party programs such as Apple’s iTunes and even assistants like Alexa and Google Home on its smart TVs .

To use them, you will still need to equip yourself with a smart microphone, sold on the main online commercial channels.

Someone will initially limit the integration to simply turning on the TV, increasing or decreasing the volume and a few other commands, however it is reasonable to expect an evolution given the growing demand from the public.

How to make a home “smart”

If you are intrigued and interested in the possibilities offered by this technology, try these devices by hand, or it would be better to say “with voice”.

Before buying one, however, consider the use you will make of it and the hidden additional costs.

At the moment, the smart microphones that allow you to use voice assistants do not have a high cost and in their basic version are very accessible.

To work properly, however, they need a home internet connection, wired or wireless, to connect to. So make sure you have this requirement before purchasing.

Listen to music

One advantage most appreciated by buyers is certainly the ability to listen to the music you want.

However, you must consider the need for a subscription that allows you to perform your favorite songs.

Depending on the service chosen, the cost is variable, so we must not fall into the temptation to buy the new electronic gadget at the moment without taking into consideration the hidden costs for its correct functioning.

Therefore, allow for an expense of at least 10 euros per month to access a vast music catalog.

Other applications

The usefulness of voice assistants does not end here, since if you decide to make your entire apartment smart.

You can take advantage of other benefits such as the ability to turn lights off or on (also available separately) with voice commands, a film perspective. science fiction that finally becomes a reality.

Other household appliances will soon arrive on the market which, by exploiting the interaction with the assistants, can be put into operation via your voice.

So imagine setting the washing machine or dishwasher to wash while you are busy with other chores, without having to distract yourself.

Future prospects

The attention of companies is currently all on these artificial intelligences and even car manufacturers such as the Mercedes brand have developed their own voice assistants to be implemented in the passenger compartment to better manage the control of components .

It responds to user commands in an immediate and precise way, thus effectively reducing the need to go to the workshop to check the car unless there is a reported fault.

There is therefore no real limit to the technology as it can be extended to any field.

Many telephone operators may replace customer support with these devices, humanizing rumors so convincingly that it feels like they’re on the phone with a proper person.

This will also lead to the entry of ethical implications and a powerful impact on the world of work.

However, this is not a good excuse to stop the technological evolution that could make life less hectic and more human-friendly.

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