19 Dec 2016
The term AI is being bandied about in all forms of media, but do many people actually understand how Artificial Intelligence is now becoming part of the consumer-electronics landscape in some of the most everyday products – almost making smart technology seem old hat by comparison.
The reality is that in order for AI to function, you need smart devices to metaphorically ‘join the dots’ to create an AI solution that works for you in your environment.
Probably the most recognised mainstream AI product to come to market is the Amazon Echo, which is expected to sell three million units in 2016, with forecasts of 10m for 2017. You’ll know the product – it’s that black cylinder with a blue pulsating light on top, promoted through those awful adverts where some chap asks Alexa to add tennis balls and dog biscuits to his shopping list.
In essence, Amazon Echo and its sibling Dot – which has no speaker but effectively does the same thing – are intended to be your assistant, connecting all your smart devices.
Combined with other IoT products, Echo enables you to voice-control your heating, lights, online orders, music streaming and on-demand services like Uber.
It’s impressive stuff, but you’ll always have to ask for Alexa, prefacing all requests with her name, which may make you feel somewhat daft. After all, the only device I want to talk to is my phone, as part of a conversation with a human being. I’m sure I’ll adapt to AI over time. Generations younger than me and in the future will think this the norm – making AI a surefire success and as commonplace in the home as a TV or a tablet.