5 Core Technologies that will Transform Humanity and Human Digital Experiences
It's hard to imagine the world without all the technology of today that have transformed the way we live, work and play. It wasn't long ago when we had to stop to look at a map or ask for directions. It used to take days to see a doctor, but with the power of technology, like wearable digital health meters, you can get information to and from your doctor in real time. Video games meant playing a simple game of "Pac-Man" to now being able to be virtually transported to be part of a game. These examples play a role in how digital experiences have enriched and changed the way we live our daily lives.
We expect more from our interactions with technological devices, some of which can now detect what we're feeling based on our facial expressions or by the tone of our voice. Systems are getting "smarter" and have turned the world we live in into one where technology has molded our experiences based on our behaviors.
1. Embracing the Future with Voice Technology
The way we are interacting with the environment with voice has transformed digital and human experiences. Technologies like Text to Speech (TTS), Speech to Text (STT) and Natural Language Understanding have brought us quite a few futuristic experiences.
A list of a few innovative voice-based experiences:
- Reading back books, email, web pages and voicemails
- GPS navigation systems
- People with disabilities benefit by:
- Allowing those with mild visual impairments or low literacy to navigate better and understand digital content
- Allowing the visually impaired to hear alerts while using public transportation
- Used for closed-captioning of conversations, speaking to "type" words instead of using a keyboard, and captioned telephone
- Using voice to give commands to mobile phones, digital devices or smart assistants
- Controlling aircraft flight displays
- Real-time translation by speaking into any digital device and translating a language
- Facebook can translate a post in your native language and Google can translate entire websites
- Hands-free voice-based automotive experiences include commands for playing music, unlocking your car or making a phone call
According to statistics from Branded3.com, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice, and about 30% will be done without a screen.
According to Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers partner, Mary Meeker, voice- and image-based searches are going to make up at least 50% of all searches by 2020.
Forbes.com, "Your Mobile Strategy Needs to Include Voice", states experts predict that nearly every application will integrate voice technology in some way.
Voice-based communication has taken over our interfaces to the external world and has made the physical world a lot smaller for people from different countries and cultures to interact smoothly and efficiently.
2. Seeing is Believing: Image Recognition
The ability for systems to detect and classify objects is a significant advantage in this digital age. Image recognition is used for human digital experiences applicable to everything from autonomous vehicle safety, to mobile phone authentication.
Google and Facebook are investing in image recognition because of its many applications.
Below are a few interesting examples:
- Pattern recognition, object detection and classification to differentiate between people or objects
- Image recognition software is used to read, analyze and accurately evaluate human emotions; Expedia's site, Discover Your Aloha, uses custom-built facial recognition software to identify reactions so offers can be made to match the reaction
- Finding location based on images — By default, smartphones embed GPS coordinates stored as metadata in each photo. Using deep learning techniques, Google's PlaNet solution can recognize locations based on details in a picture, such as landmarks, random roads, and houses
- Autonomous and Connected cars — Image recognition is in navigation and guidance systems; Recognizing and differentiating between objects, such as traffic lights, a person, and even snow and rain to avoid accidents
Image recognition has evolved from being able to recognize a face to recognizing objects and emotion. Teaching computers to recognize visual elements can improve safety and is beneficial for speeding up processes, as with airport security checks.
3. High-tech Biometric Methods
Fingerprint recognition identifies a person by using a pattern-matching software. It is used in police stations, high-security industries and in situations such as taking attendance, voter registration and identification, driver's license and professional ID card verification, and to authenticate users to unlock smartphones.
Body/Face recognition systems are comparing people's faces to their passports and driver's license photos; Used for attendance tracking, it searches for potential criminals and terrorists attending events and using their mobile phone camera to unlock devices. Also, Facial recognition can recognize people in photos on Facebook.
Iris Recognition scans the iris and measures the unique patterns in the colored circle of the eye. It can operate at long distances and is known for being fast and highly accurate. Its applications are the same as fingerprint recognition systems.
Emotion technology helps businesses construct their marketing strategy based on a user's emotional reaction, which has found to influence what we buy. Both Emotion detection and recognition technology are being used to help drive purchases because studies, such as that by the professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, Antonio Damasio, find that emotion leads to preferences in almost all decisions.
Industry giants are analyzing and identifying person's mood based on facial expressions. Moreover, Facebook has been using emotion recognition technology to personalize ads based on reactions to posts, such as "likes" and other reactions.
According to research, the emotion detection and recognition market is projected to be worth $22.65B by 2020.
4. Mixed Reality
Virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience a world that doesn't exist. Devices let users interact with a 3D world that isn't real by wearing a particular headset or smart glasses and some form of input tracking. Augmented reality (AR) integrates digital information with the user's environment in real time. Unlike VR, AR uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. Mixed Reality (MR) aims to combine the best aspects of both VR and AR and can include AR, augmented virtuality, and other mixed configurations. Transporting virtual experiences are those who "transport" users to different virtual locations via a virtual-reality headset.
- Google Cardboard or Google Daydream VR transports users to different virtual worlds
- Sports fans feel as if they're part of a professional sports team through Oculus Rift's game, VR Sport Challenge
- The viral game, Pokemon Go, uses AR to allow players to use their smartphone cameras to find game characters in a physical world
- Microsoft's Hololens brings the physical and digital worlds together and lets users engage with digital content and interact with holograms in mixed reality
- London's luxury hotel, One Aldwych, has a bar that virtually transports customers to the distillery where one of its whiskeys is made
With improvements regarding platforms, content, applications and lower prices for some devices, the Virtual Reality industry is moving forward. Once thought of as the technology for gamers, AR, VR, and MR are now also finding their way to business enterprises to provide sensory experiences beyond our imagination.
5. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is the most exciting area for us to look at— as this is a super set of all the experiences discussed above. The systems of tomorrow are starting to collect, and visualize the data collected by Voice, Biometrics, and Images and then mine it to create much better experiences in the future.
What we know of Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence today is only the tip of the iceberg. Tomorrow's systems— those that know exactly where you are, what you are doing, what you are looking at and that can predict the future of what you will be doing and production of those futuristic experience even before you know— will happen sooner than later.
Dozens of other applications of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence include:
- User behavior analytics - Detecting patterns of suspicious behavior for detecting credit card fraud. This could come from Image, Voice or Biometrics
- Linguistics - used for Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding
- Marketing - Mainly for analyzing data, efficiently target audiences, forecasting
- Insurance - Machine learning for computer-generated insurance information, automating the claims process
- Search engines - For ranking, understanding search queries, understanding documents such as classifying pages and detecting spam
- Healthcare - Technology for medical diagnosis, identifying diseases, personalizing treatments based on predictive analytics, collecting records, sending and receiving real-time data from wearable devices, sorting patient queries via email, transforming handwritten text into digitized text
- Filtering spam - Artificial Intelligence for email spam filtering
- Drones - powered by AI, drones, especially military drones, can make decisions and operate automatically
- Self-driving cars - AI for autonomous vehicles includes technology for making accurate decisions and for computer vision, automatic speech recognition, object detection
- Games - To generate responsive interactions, like the Deep Blue chess-playing computer
Here's how we see the future will Unfold…
Though in existence for several years, significant advances have been made in voice and image recognition, biometrics, mixed reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Voice recognition, a technology that is beneficial to those with disabilities, is also crucial in e-commerce and has become a part of our daily interaction with devices and environment we live in.
Image recognition has proven to be useful and innovative in several applications including object detection in autonomous vehicles and face detection.
Fingerprint and iris recognition have greatly improved and used in newer ways. However, limitations include failure to accurately read facial expressions and matching them to emotions, which will improve in the near future.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence have changed how we interact with technology and each other. We can talk to bots for customer service to solve problems. Covering a wide range of industries, AI has transformed the world we live in — from only seeing talking computers in movies to having personal voice assistants becoming a part of our daily lives. Only in its beginning stages, it is exciting to see the full potential of this technology.
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This post was written by Asokan Ashok, the CEO of UnfoldLabs. Ashok is an expert in driving customer insights into thriving businesses and commercializing products for scale. As a leading strategist in the technology industry, he is great at recommending strategies to address technology & market trends. Highly analytical and an industry visionary, Ashok is a sought after global high-tech industry thought leader and trusted strategic advisor by companies.
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