If you have watched ‘Her’ by Spike Jonze, you would have remembered that Joaquin Phoenix had an AI voice assistant named Samantha constantly on hand to help.
A voice-based assistant that progressively learns your habits seemed to be the evolution for Siri and what our lives might be like, walking and talking in our earphones to our personal AIs.
Just 2 years after the movie, communications have evolved and we take a dip into the future of personal tech assistants such as Siri.
We speak a myriad of languages with a plethora of dialects and slangs that are unique to cultures and groups, so while a voice-based assistant had utopian and intimate values to communication, there is some friction to it.
Voice actually requires a lot more cognitive and physical effort than pointing with a mouse, typing on a keyboard, or tapping on app icon and then navigating the UI — Jonathan Libov
Text messaging is the most popular form of communication in the UK, and Americans ages 18–29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls.
Voice is by no means dying out with OTT messaging and video calling apps securing a combined 2 billion users today; we just text way more than any other activity on the mobile devices we use.
The mobile phone is no longer simply a voice calling device, it is a tool to get things done. So shouldn’t we be using the way of least resistance to get things done?
It appears many apps are on to it from chat assistants to dating apps, using fantastic technologies such as Firebase and PubNub to drive their apps and our mobile actions.
Luka is both an app and phone number that is regarded as a “cross between Yelp and Siri” for foodies. You communicate with Luka by text via SMS or in-app instead of voice.
It aims to be conversational, as opposed to Siri, which is designed mostly to answer single questions. “Siri would not remember the second or third step of a conversation,” says co-founder Eugenia Kuyda. “It’s one question, one answer.”
Using artificial intelligence (AI), it attempts to learn your gastronomical preferences to find the best places for you, from scanning online reviews from 15 different sources such as Yelp.
Voice is currently not on the cards for them as they designed the app for an ongoing conversation that can be continued hours later instead of one that ends in minutes.
Magic is a purely text based virtual assistant to get what you want.
They blew up a little too quickly for some, but they represent SMS 2.o, a shift in the value of text messaging.
The interest for a basic concierge service has incredible demand, not just to the well-heeled or siri.
It feels personal as they hire operators to work on requests as opposed to an AI, and security is less of an issue when you enter your credit card number from a a 128-bit encrypted HTTPS link via SMS.
Path looks to pivot their social networking business to focus on messaging with their acquisition of TalkTo and focuses on allowing consumers to speak to businesses directly within the app
“We had this realization that messaging is the killer app of mobile” — Dave Morin, Path Founder
Some people really dislike talking on the phone for simple jobs, and messaging removes unnecessary layers of complexity to simple task of ordering a pizza.
There is an issue with friction from multitasking through many apps, making it a messy experience. WeChat has iterated over the years to wear multiple hats, being a news reader, blogging platform, digital storefront, mobile wallet to even a mobile resume.
We accept that Medium is our go to blogging platform, and LinkedIN our professional business network, but as all roads lead to Rome, it also seems that all services will hinge on text messaging for higher viscosity
80% of Chinese have asked someone on a date by text while the majority of Chinese respondents also admitted to using texting to coordinate adultery.
Infidelity aside, it just proves how successful dating apps like Tinder can be in creating conversations. Swiping right may be the easy part, but messaging is the glue that keeps the positive connection alive.
You could maybe have the option of uploading a voice message instead of texting but can you imagine starting all dates with the fear of making a cold phone call?
First opinion is a medical app that gives you access to real doctors worldwide in real time via texting. Depending on what level of access you want, you can pay for a 3–5 minute response time or wait 24 hours for a free answer.
They humanize every medical professional matched to you, with a brief bio.
Clearly there is demand to communicate with a doctor for a proper diagnosis, but the idea of being available for an ongoing chat that is not intrusive to the medical professional can really help allay your sudden panic attacks or fears.
Digit is a digital piggybank that automates savings via text messaging. It sends updates and triggers to you that you can reply instantly to save money as easily as you message your friends.
No fancy UI, just riding on the ubiquity of text messaging to drive savings. It feels like a game, but the idea of saving money by doing what we already do the most on our mobile devices everyday is a cinch.
These companies and apps all use text-based interaction in different ways to provide incredible services, some even with AIs to learn and drive responses.
Text-based interaction has history on its side, being the oldest, most stable, flexible, efficient and useful communication, not to mention easily indexed, searched and translated.
By leveraging on text, companies have an advantage over voice by being quick, fun, intimate, descriptive and even consistent in ways that user interfaces often are not.
Apps can truly be fantastic with real-time messaging and SMS to help you reach out to sticky behaviour and we have just the product for you.
Always bet on text. Text is the most powerful, useful, effective communication technology ever, period. — graydon
Mobile is the future, but text might just be immortal.
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