AI and human symbiosis
Since the birth of the internet to it going commercial in the mid 1990s, we've witnessed exponential growth in the amount and variety of collected data. In the last 30 or so years, we have moved from binary inputs signalling 'yes' or 'no' queries, to being on the verge of quantum computation that can answer contextual and complex commands with voice assistants in the home and car.
These data-based, machine-learnt softwares have already entered a state of transcendence. The examples below extrapolate content from a range of sources, including one where hours and hours of Joe Rogan podcasts were compiled to make a Joe Rogan AI, as well as the formation of the first AI news anchor.
Let's set the scene with some stats:
- Affectiva has developed SoundNet, a neural network that can classify anger in speech within 1.2 seconds, regardless of the speaker’s language
- An estimated eight billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023, up from the 2.5 billion assistants in use at the end of 2018
- The global voice recognition market value, based on industry analyst consensus, is expected to be $49 billion
- Some 94% of companies plan to increase their investment in voice technology this year
- Currently over 7,400 brands are compatible with Alexa
- According to one study, 45% of millennials (23-37 years old) already use voice assistants while shopping
Elsewhere, Apple launched the next iteration of their wildly popular AirPods, now with “hands-free Siri access”. Meanwhile, Poly announced a fully Alexa-integrated product for business use. These new products continue to remove friction for users looking to engage with AI assistants and are setting the path toward a state voice-enabled devices have always been heading— ambient assistance, available everywhere.
Within in this article I would like to challenge where we are now with our AI relationship and where we will exponentially go, as well as dive into both the perception and metaphysics of AI and human symbiosis. In order to contextualise the ideas, I have created a proof of concept with basic "real world user interfaces (UI)" for tomorrow's AI.
The year is 2040. It's your 40th birthday. It's a special day for you and your family to celebrate your birth year, but it also marks the day of symbiosis with youru. For clarity, symbiosis is "a relationship between two or more organisms that live closely together."
youru. is a lineage based AI that learns about your behaviour and personality over time. It also collects intelligence around your family lineage to tap into a larger data pull.
youru. not only acts a personal assistant, it also acts autonomously; communicating with other youru.s to crowdsource data to work towards a better future for humans and AI. It is not uncommon for youru. to take part in other conversations based on your proximity if the context is required.
At its most basic level, youru. acts as your browser and pulls data cards from the web that are tailored to your needs
It's at its most advanced when in lineage mode. In this mode, youru. can connect you with your past. It acts as a conversation provider to any point in time a human has previously made symbiosis with your youru. For example, you'd have the ability to talk to deceased family members, at multiple ages in their lifetimes, all in the same conversation.
youru. is a rational friend but also a liberator of unnecessary labour. It provides quick conversational solutions to problems that traditionally require more than attention.
The youru. world beyond the surface taps into your personal biometrics; monitoring your mental and physical health, diagnosing issues and preventing longterm health problems in later life. As a result, it gives you the longest and healthiest life possible. If any issues are noticed, youru. will act on your behalf to book in heath checks with the right medical practitioner.
youru. marks the complete symbiosis of human and machine.
The three types of symbiosis:
One organism benefits and the other is neither harmed nor helped.
Both organisms benefit. An obligate mutualist cannot survive without its partner, but a facultative mutualist can survive on its own.
One organism (the parasite) benefits and the other (the host) is harmed.
So, how does this concept make you feel? Are you excited by the possibilities of a stronger connection with a machine? Are you comfortable with having a digital consciousness acting almost as your own subconscious in a commensalism context, or would you prefer the mutualism route?
Mutualism would see a long-term aspect of supporting the human race into a better tomorrow by allowing the machine to learn. Or finally, do you see this as the parasitism? Is youru. a AI parasite leaching your identity and keeping your digital persona immortally confined as data inside the machine?
The world already couldn't operate without the internet. Our mobile phones are now called "devices", while smart homes, smart cities, 5G and the youru. concept is entirely possible if not achievable within the next five years. The possibilities for the UX and digital design industry is at its most exciting now.
And so it should be.
Here are five things you can do, right now, to start thinking about machine learning and smart interaction with your business:
- Consider all states of personalisation and assisted zero-contact relationships with your brand (Microsoft's 'Clippy' Office Assistant is now more relevant than ever)
- Review the relationship between your multichannel services. Seamless integration is key and may require a complete re-build of your digital platform
- Consider how smart devices could improve your customers' experience and value to your business
- Be brave and learn from failures
- Stay ahead of the curve, as this will become an expected experience soon
We'll be discussing ideas like these at this year's Interact London conference on Wednesday 16th October. As London's best UX and Ai design conference, this year we will be tackling the topic of the Human and the Machine with speakers from Google, Philips, Conde Nast International and more.
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