Look around. We’re surrounded by technology that until recently seemed like it could only exist in the realm of science fiction. The most prominent example? Computers we can talk to.
In 2020, it was estimated that there were as many as 4.2 billion voice assistant devices being used worldwide, and that number is expected to reach a whopping 8 billion by 2023.
The launch of Google’s voice search in 2011, and Apple’s Siri shortly afterwards, signalled the beginning of a new era for this technology - an era that is now in full swing since Amazon’s Alexa joined the party.
But the increased ubiquity and improved computing power of these devices doesn’t mean a free ticket to unlimited progress. There are still significant challenges: understanding natural speech, tackling error rates and earning trust, to name but a few.