May 9th, 2017

Why We Should Teach Senior Citizens How to Talk to Machines

Feeling unwell and need assistance? Need to order a taxi? Misplaced your mobile phone? Want to know when the next bus leaves for town? Need a reminder about when to take your medicine? Turn on some nice music without fiddling with the computer or an old CD?

What to do?

Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Google Now can already solve these problems through their voice interfaces, and they are improving fast.

If we teach our parents and grandparents to use voice interfaces they will be safer and able to manage a lot more on their own, improving their quality of life.

Here’s just a few reasons as to why:

  • Limited or failing eye sight won’t be an issue
  • New technology such as Nest, Netflix, security alarms and other gadgets in the home will be more accessible
  • New services such as food delivery and transportation will be more accessible
  • Entertainment such as audio books, games and more* are only one voice command away

* Not a substitute for spending time with your family.

But voice recognition doesn’t work?

Actually it does. We just need to have the patience to learn how to speak to machines and understand what they can do. 43% of millennials use a voice interface with some kind of device today vs 8% for baby boomers.

And more importantly, the voice interfaces are rapidly improving. Apple is expected to launch a major overhaul of Siri with iOS11 (iPhone 8) and Google, Microsoft and Amazon will continue to optimize their voice recognition and natural language algorithms through AI.

So there you go.

Buy an Amazon Echo or Google Home and learn how to use it (practice what you preach first). Then give one to your parents and spend some time teaching them how to use it. Hopefully it will improve their quality of life and mabe provide some further peace of mind for you.

Magnus Jern
Chief Innovation Officer

This article was first posted on LinkedIn.

Tags: AI Amazon artificial intelligence Google internet of things IoT machine learning Microsoft voice interfaces

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