Followup: Is voice the future?

The live chat of the O’Reilly webinar that Christopher delivered on 27 February 2013 had some great questions, but not all of them made it out of the chat room and onto the air. I’m slowly answering those questions as I continue to release the sci-fi interface survey.

Q: Paolo Montevecchi asks: Is voice the future media of interaction?


A: Let me first provide a biiig caveat. Doing a survey and analysis of 100+ years of interfaces in screen sci-fi has granted many insights and a degree of authority on sci-fi interfaces. In contrast, this question is about the future of the real world, for which we haven’t made a case for why either of us would have any special authority. So, take this with a grain of salt. But of course I’m a designer by training and in my day job at IBM, I’m always thinking about what these imagined futures will mean to the real world, and I do have an opinion.

The short answer to your question is that I think voice is a big part of the future of interaction, along with “big social”, agentive and ubiquitous tech, and “natural” user interactions, which stack up into a neat little acronym SAUNa.

The longer answer is that I’ve been talking about the future of technology since the fall of 2011, near the end of writing the book. Following are links to videos of those talks. In Moscow with game company Innova I gave a presentation called The Interface Parenthesis making the case for “natural” UI, but also forecasting future trends. I later gave a version of that talk at RE:Design UX with Stefan Klocek.

…These thoughts evolved into a talk about “Implicit Interactions” at Kicker Studio‘s Device Design Day also with Stefan…

…which evolved into thinking about SAUNa technology and the generative metaphor of the jinn. I’m currently developing that material into a number of posts for the Cooper blog (and possibly more), but in the meantime you can see this talk that Stefan and I gave at the UXConference in Lugano, Switzerland last year for a preview, and how it relates to the concept of smarter cities, with two nifty illustrated scenarios, to boot.

So the longer answer is also yes, voice is part of the future, but I think it’s going part of something even bigger, and more mythical.

2 thoughts on “Followup: Is voice the future?

  1. since I’m reading this for the second time now:

    “The live chat of the O’Reilly webinar that Christopher delivered on 18 April 2013 …”

    18 April 2013? I don’t think so 😉

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