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A layperson’s exploration of all things voice

Category Archives: Home Use

October 7, 2019

TV’s “Modern Family” & the Smart Refrigerator

You know something is on the verge of being mainstream when it gets featured in a major TV show. That’s why the most recent episode of “Modern Family” is worth noting. This article drives home the point:

Mitchell and Cameron are hands down one of the funniest and sweetest couples on the show. They have loads of petty fights and then make up for it in the sweetest possible way. The couple is also strangely insecure about their relationship and can’t handle any new person entering their lives as they fear that their relationship might be at risk. Episode 2 of ‘Modern Family’ season 11 saw just that.

Cameron brings home a new smart refrigerator named Bridget. During his brief absence, Mitch and Bridget get very close. Cam catches Mitch singing a song standing very close to Bridget and trying to embrace her. He gets very upset when he notices that Bridget even helped Mitch prepare his lunch, Cam suddenly feels like he is being replaced by Bridget in their relationship.

A few scenes later, we see the tables turned, as Mitch catches Cam and Bridget getting very personal. They both share some inside jokes and Cam even brings her flowers. Later Cam takes a selfie with Bridget and Mitch starts getting envious. They both have a small tiff over the third “person” in their relationship. They mutually decide to let go off Bridget for the sake of their relationship and unplug her. They are later shocked when Bridget is still able to overhear them and talks to them even though she has been unplugged. Bridget then reminds them that she is running on the power back up and appears to be upset with Mitch and Cam. Later, we see Bridget in Jay’s house, and the episode ends with Jay pouring his heart out to the new woman in their lives.

The episode reminded us of the elements from the movie ‘Her’, where the lead character Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) ends up falling in love with Samantha, an AI program. With AI taking over our lives, it might not be a stretch to say that falling in love with AI is a possibility. A fan wrote, “People cheating on their significant other with an AI is the future. #ModernFamily”.

Fans loved the inclusion of Bridget on the episode. A fan tweeted, “This refrigerator storyline is possibly the stupidest fucking thing ever… and i love it and I’m in #ModernFamily”. Another fan wrote, “LOL Mitchell singing a duet with a smart fridge is something I never thought I’d see. And I’m kinda wanting to try this turkey and apple sandwich now lol. Thanks Bridget? #ModernFamily”.

August 6, 2019

Context Is Queen; Content Is King

Last week, I blogged about this free 48-page playbook by “360i” about what you should know about voice from a marketing perspective. This excerpt from a note by Tony Landa of 360i about how voice allows “context” to unlock the powers of AI drives homes the heart of what voice’s power is all about:

For an AI to deliver the smartest and most accurate response possible, it needs context – context even beyond the current conversation. Some use the term “big data” to describe this idea. Huge advancements in understanding context are on display on the world’s most visited websites. They can be seen in places like search engine results and the Facebook newsfeed. Just ask Google a question about politics and the results will differ whether you are Democrat or Republican.

Context-based responses may be limited on Voice agents today, but with Amazon’s staff of 5,000+ working on the Alexa platform and Google drawing from multiple disciplines and departments to support Google Assistant, smarter and smarter interactions are sure to become commonplace, even expected.

Broc Romanek

May 14, 2019

Google Bets on Mobile for Voice Growth

This “voicebot.ai” piece recaps how Google seems to be betting on mobile as where a lot of voice interactions will take place going forward. Here’s an excerpt:

This is an interesting development in the Google Assistant ecosystem. As Google Assistant matures on Android, there is the gravity pull of millions of Android apps and developers committed to the platform. There is also the fact that Google on its most recent count had only accumulated about 4,200 Actions in the U.S. and presumably a far lower number in other countries. This slow growth threatens to create a perception of tepid Assistant support by developers. However, if a lot of developers begin adding Assistant features to their Android apps, then the value and reach will accelerate quickly.

The focus on the phone tells you where Google thinks the near-term platform growth will come from. There are over 1 billion devices with Google Assistant. Of those, there are very likely fewer than 100 million voice-first devices such as smart speakers. And, there are now 2.5 billion active Android smartphone users. So, Google can see the growth for Assistant in the near-term will be on mobile provided there are useful features that take advantage of it.