Virtual Personal Assistants – Pt. 9

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The Future Implications of Siri and Cortana

The Future of Siri and Cortana

The way that Siri and Cortana are being used on our iPhone and Windows Mobile devices is considered to be that of the first generation.  Meaning, we can ask either of them a simple query, and for the most part, it will be answered in a way that will satisfy us.

But, as we have mentioned before, this is only the beginning. There is much more that is being planned, and it will come to the point that the predecessors to Siri and Cortana will literally become our support in both our professional and personal lives.

Here is what is planned:

Implementation into the Smart Home:

Of course, we have all heard of Smart just about everything, but how about a “Smart Home”?  What is it exactly?  It can be defined as follows:

“Smart Home” is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.”

Essentially, what this means is that every major item in your house which is controlled   electronically, can be turned on or off at your whim, using a centralized control panel. Keep in mind, this requires direct intervention on your part.  The idea of the Virtual Personal Assistant of the future is that it will actually make all of these decisions for you, based upon your     behavioral profile and other information/data that you submit to it.  Probably one of the best examples of this is the “Amazon Echo”. It is a loudspeaker, and in it “lives” the Virtual Personal Assistant known as “Alexa”.  The loudspeaker is located in a central position in your house, and wired to all of your electrical devices. You simply tell Alexa to turn on the TV, start the   dishwasher, and even organize your personal schedule.

The Virtual Personal Assistant will be totally embodied into us:

This is where the Virtual Personal Assistant will fit into the role of the “Internet of Things” also known as the “IoT”.  Essentially, this is a concept where an individual can be identified by their interactions with various objects in their daily lives, both on a physical and virtual level.  In fact, even at this level, the IoT can be used as a Security mechanism either by itself or in a Multimodal approach. The VPA which is anticipated to make its impact here is known as “ViV”.  This Virtual Personal Assistant is being developed by the same group of programmers that developed Siri.  But in this regard, it is anticipated that it will far surpass Siri in at least three distinct ways:

  • It will be able to answer much more complex queries, with more than one component to it. For example, rather than simply asking it how to get from Point A to Point B, you can ask it something like: “Viv, tell me how many light years we are away from the Andromeda Galaxy, and do you think that there will be any extraterrestrial life out there?”
  • Viv will be accessible to third party software developers, from which they will be able to leverage its intelligence platform.  As a result, much more interactive mobile apps will be created, not only  in the future, but existing ones will be able to get further enhanced as well.
  • It will be become the “Google” of the future.  At the present time, all queries have to be manually entered in the search box.  But it is hoped that with Viv, it will become the voice interface for anything and everything that is on the Internet.

You will be having a much deeper and more intimate relationship with your Virtual Personal Assistant:

Whom is the first person that you go to in order to have a deep conversation or to talk about something extremely personal?  Your significant other or your spouse, of course.  But in the future, this could all very well change. The VPAs of the future (including ViV) will be designed in such a way that they will become literally your “virtual spouse”.  In other words, you will be able to have much longer conversations with it, lasting for hours on end, rather than just the simple few minute queries that you have Siri or Cortana today.  For example, the futuristic VPA will help you to plan your next vacation, help you select your new doctor (even figure out which medical insurance policy is best for you), and help you to decide your next career move.  The Virtual Personal Assistant of the future will have a much more interactive interface than what Siri or Cortana possess today.  Also, they will be much more proactive in learning about you.  In other words, they will initiate conversations with you if they “see” something in the external environment that may be of interest or of of help to you in your daily tasks.  Also, the language context of the conversation will be much more sophisticated, in that most of the nuances of it will be understood by the VPA.  The bottom line is that it is anticipated the end user will have a very secure, trusting, private, and intimate relationship with their Virtual Personal Assistant-in a way that parallels the relationship with their significant other.


Overall, this series of blogs have explored the VPA world of Siri and Cortana, their security issues, and future implications.  Keep in mind that these VPAs are rather primitive forms of Machine Learning.  Their sophistication is only going to grow at a rapid clip, as the pace of the algorithm development used in them is growing quickly.