Have you ever been out somewhere and thought to yourself, “I really want to go home, but I don’t want to press on anything to get there”? Well, there’s some good news for you today! You can now call Uber using Siri – no tapping or physical interaction required.
In most cases, alcohol and cellphones don’t tend to mix well (unless you’re using your phone to learn a good way to mix your alcohol). Suppose you’re out after a night of partying and are too intoxicated to use your phone normally. Also suppose that none of your friends are able to help you, and bar staff can’t be bothered. (It’s an impossibly unrealistic scenario, we know, but stay with us.) Now, what if you could call for a cab, or in this case, an Uber, by the miracle of simply asking your phone to do it? That’s now reality. You can call Uber using Siri; no hands required.
Suddenly, what would appear to be a mostly useless feature isn’t so useless anymore. But in all seriousness, the ability to interact with devices without physical intervention is a substantial market trend. Technology that can be interacted with by voice is just the tip of the iceberg in this growing field.
Siri demonstrates the best of that technology. It can take notes, make calls, and pretty much do anything that you can do on your phone normally. Siri is a program through which a user interacts VIA voice with their phone, but Siri also has somewhat of a personality. Personalized applications and user experiences have come a long way since the 1990s, but that’s a topic for another discussion. Siri continues the trend of improvement in interface and program personalization.
As another example, Google allows users to search the web VIA voice input. This both improves the user experience of people who are visually impaired and one day, may be more convenient than the clicking and tapping we are all so familiar with. One thing’s for certain: Predicting future market trends is hard. Heck, predicting tomorrow’s weather is hard.
There are some hints of what’s to come. In terms of what products work and what products stay, history tells us the product that is easiest and most convenient to use wins. Generally, things that improve or simplify an existing task will do well.
How will humans interface with computers in the future? Will there be mice, touch interfaces, or something else? Perhaps future computers will read a user’s eyes, determine what they’re looking at, and interface that way? In that case, how would a user signal that they’re ready to “click,” by blinking? What if someone moves their eyes to look at the display? How will the computer decide if they’re scrolling or just looking? Perhaps a combination of both voice commands and eye scanning can be used to solve these problems.
At least for now, you can call Uber using Siri. That’s a start.