The introduction of Siri in iOS5 was a media hit. Although voice command functionality had existed before, Siri was just a bit more functional and a bit more polished – as is Apple’s way – and as we know the service took off. Now, the service is ubiquitous and used off-handily. The revolution it promised has given way to jokes and passive acceptance. Some people think that Winston is the next evolution of Siri. I disagree, Winston is simply a sideshow. Siri is going to move beyond just passively reacting to your instructions. Soon, this computer sprite is going to start predicting your future.
When Siri launched, it was promised that “she” would learn your habits and adjust. Maybe it does this (I haven’t seen it), but it doesn’t learn like Google Now. Google’s prediction machine has had a much quieter launch as far as press is concerned, but it is much more revolutionary than a simply speech recognition tool. Google’s application of all its amassed data about your life to predict your needs is amazing. In the end both services are extremely useful extensions to preexisting tech, and soon they are going to get married.
Merging the “personal assistant” that is Siri with the adaptive/predictive tech of Google Now will turn our devices into partners who learn about us and respond in a personal manner. Think less of a HAL 9000 and more of a pocket spouse – your phone will know you better than you know yourself and adjust its interactions with you to compensate for your unique foibles, just like a good husband or wife. This personalization will in turn pair us even more tightly with our devices as they begin to complement our personality and “understand us.” Once we begin to feel emotionally attached to our devices (not just productively attached), all bets are off. This is when we will see people choosing machines over people, desiring implants that allow for better interfacing, and a dependency on our “better machine halves.”
Or none of this could happen and we will still be yelling into our phones every time it misinterprets us for decades. I don’t buy it though. What’s next for Siri is prediction and personal adaptation. What’s next for us when this happens, whatever it is, it’s going to be a wild ride.