The Triumphant Return of Voice
While we all like to think that new technology springs into existence fully formed and perfect, the truth is that almost every new development has a long and storied history leading up to this moment. More than a century ago, telecoms companies were poised to rule the world and the voice of the operator was so ubiquitous that that it was permanently etched into the public consciousness.
Fast forward to a decade ago and voice was dead. Digital age teenagers preferred text communication through SMS and messenger apps over talking on the phone to the degree that it became a running joke; you could tell how old someone was if they still used their phone as a phone. Given all of the benefits of text communication, and the creeping rates of social anxiety amongst the younger generation, it looked like we were going to be stepping forward into blissful silence, where the only sounds would be the gentle tapping of fingers on touchscreens.
That is why the resurgence of voice tech in its latest form is so significant. Digital home assistants like Google Home and Alexa are a new application for a neglected part of human interactivity. Serving as an AI hub, voice assistants have the potential to liaise with smart home appliances and render the whole home voice controlled.
Needless to say, we’ve plenty to say about voice, and so does Sutherland Digital president Andrew Zimmerman in this white paper “Voice is Back: This Time It’s Louder“: