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K4-11 - Voice interaction

Wm Magill - December 1, 2017

How do you interact with your friends and neighbors? Your pet dog or cat? Your children? Your fellow human beings?

Do you sit down and write them a letter —
Do you send them a text message —
Or do you simply talk to them or maybe call them on the telephone?

If you have ever said to your Apple device “Hey Siri, what’s the temperature?” . . .
or asked Windows’s 10 -- “Cortana, what time is it?” . . .
or asked Google -- “Hey Google, who starred in Bonanza?” . . .
or told Alexa -- “What’s the stock market doing? . . .
you are using Voice recognition to communicate - and not just with another human being, but with “The Cloud.”

We all (should) remember that scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home where Scotty picks up the Mouse on the Mac and says, “Hello Computer.”
And then when told to “Just use the keyboard,” replies, “The keyboard. How quaint!” YouTube clip of Scotty

Well, that is how the Amazon Echo or Google Home works — you just talk to it. What has happened with this aspect of technology in the past six months is truly amazing.

. . . I broke down and picked up an Amazon Echo Plus on Cyber Monday . . .

The future of digital will be human-centric and voice will reign supreme
AWS is preparing for a future where digital access will be human-centric, with the first step being voice, the most natural way of interacting.
(AWS = Amazon Web Services, aka "the Amazon Cloud")

Source: http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-future-of-digital-will-be-human-centric-and-voice-will-reign-supreme

By Asha McLean | November 30, 2017

Announcing the launch of Alexa for Business at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas on Thursday, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels described a future where technology and digital access is defined by human centricity, and said it starts with voice, the most natural way of interacting.

The CTO described a future that isn't as distant as it once was, where surgeons can talk to equipment while performing surgery, or parents can "scream" at their devices while dealing with a busy schedule.

"What voice will do is allow you to have a normal, natural way of communicating," Vogels said. "We are talking, this isn't a Slack channel."

"Voice is the key disruption."

He said, however, that digital systems are being limited in their application to digital users and that it is up to organisations to make sure a human-centric approach is taken when developing new products for the end-user. Vogels said voice will unlock digital systems for everyone, and pointed to the way grandparents head straight for Skype when handed a tablet; "that's about all that they do," he said.

He said that once people begin to talk to their digital systems, they won't want to go back and look for which app to use for what, with "app fatigue" currently plaguing a user's experience with tech.

According to Vogels, voice-focused digital initiatives have the potential to assist developing countries, more than what providing people with a smartphone or tablet does, at least.

"Building apps is not first on their minds; surviving is first on their minds," he said.

Voice-enabled technology has the potential to make a difference from a consumer level in home automation, which isn't a new approach from AWS; the Amazon Echo has quietly become a smarthome hub for at least two years.

"You want a better way of interacting," Vogels explained. "You no longer want to go around your room and switch all of the lights on."

Instead, Vogels said, human-centric design will see people interacting with their homes in a more fluid way, moving through a space that will have pre-determined patterns for what lighting, as one example, is required.

But creating human-centric products and tools will also mean backend systems will need to be built different, with Vogels saying backend systems will be built with voice.

AWS' human-centric future is backed by a handful of the announcements made during re:Invent, which has this year focused on giving developers more tools to make further progress with machine learning or artificial intelligence.

Aside from Alexa for Business, AWS announced further machine learning capabilities, aimed at making more developers machine learning experts.

Vogel's human-centric future has no sign of servers. To that end, Vogels unveiled the AWS Serverless Application Repository.

"All the code you ever write will be business logic," Vogels said. "There are no servers in this architecture ... there is only serverless functionality, such as DynamoDB."

The repository, currently in preview, is designed for producers and consumers of serverless apps, supporting publishing, discovery, and deployment. The repository will allow users to discover a collection of serverless applications, easily deploy from the repository to an AWS account, and allow for the publication of applications built by the user to share with the rest of the community.

"We want to make sure that every AWS customer moves ahead into the serverless future," AWS wrote in a blog post. Where security is concerned, Vogels said protecting the customer should be the number one priority of every organisation.

"We have not taken encryption serious enough," he said. "Encryption is the only tool you have to make sure you are the only one who has access to your data."

Amazon's roadmap for the future: 4 signposts for the tech industry
At the 2017 AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels spoke on the next-generation of 21st century architecture and how tech will change business. Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/amazons-roadmap-for-the-future-4-signposts-for-the-tech-industry/
Conner Forrest | November 30, 2017

Amazon Web Services (AWS) wants to build tools today that can be used to power the systems its customers want to deliver in 2020, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said in a keynote address at the 2017 re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The talk Vogels gave focused on what he called 21st century architectures. The cloud, he said, has created an "egalitarian platform" and allowed more democratized access to next-generation technologies. And while much of what Vogels spoke on focused on Amazon products, there are some predictions that can impact the tech industry as a whole.

Here are four signposts from the keynote that business leaders should pay attention to.

  1. Digital access will be human-centric
    Interfaces like GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) and typing have long dominated computing, but they just aren't natural, Vogels said. The future of computing, he said, will be driven by human-centric interactions—inputs that are more similar to how we communicate and interact with one another in everyday life.

    The king of these interactions is voice, and Amazon bet big on this with its Alexa tools. However, Vogels said, voice will eventually be even more intuitive and useful, allowing a surgeon to ask questions of a device without taking her hands off of a patient, for example.

    Voice will be the first step toward the next generation of computing, and will unlock even more access to digital initiatives, Vogels said.

  2. Security is everyone's job
    Vogels has long been a strong proponent of encryption, and his keynote address was no exception. During his talk, he went as far as to say that security is now "everyone's job" and one of the key tools in performing that job will be encryption.

    "Encryption is the only tool you have to make sure you are the only one who has access to your data," Vogels said.

    AWS offers options for protecting data with both server-side and client-side encryption. In the past, Vogels has spoken on customers he knows that have moved to 100% encryption, and language in his keynote seemed to suggest he felt this level of encryption may be necessary in the future of IT.

  3. Data is the differentiator
    What's really going to set organizations apart from their peers is the data they have, Vogels said. Vogels used the example of GE, which is a firm he said went to bed one night as a manufacturing company and work up as a digital company, based on its efforts in data use.

    As hardware and software both become commoditized, data will be used to provide more contextual products and services to customers. Advanced efforts in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), which AWS focused on during the first day of re:Invent, will further accelerate this trend.

  4. Serverless is here
    Being that AWS has made such a strong investment in serverless computing with its Lambda service, it's no surprise that Vogels touched on this during his talk. With the growth of microservices, though, serverless initiatives will likely take a more central role in development in the coming years.

    Many future-focused efforts in infrastructure actually focus on removing or limiting the management of infrastructure itself. And serverless allows companies to build applications without provisioning, scaling, or managing servers. Serverless also allows for flexible scaling, high availability, and eliminating the need for idle capacity, which could help save money.