I typically don’t support open source technologies. They are typically unpolished, inferior products that lack good user experiences and have unfocused visions and purposes. However, in the case of virtual assistants, I think the field could benefit greatly from an open source offering. The problems with most virtual assistants come from their privacy concerns, like in the case of Amazon or Google, or inferior databases, like in the case of Apple’s Siri. An open source virtual assistant could curb these setbacks by allowing supporters to cater to the assistants database and do so according to their own will. This would allow both users and manufacturers to develop apps for the assistant and integrate their products directly with it, specializing the features the assistant would offer when used with their products, while also allowing users to create a more personalized, user friendly personal assistant that could cater to their specific needs in ways that other assistants couldn’t. Eric Von Hippel, an expert on user innovation emphasizes the benefit of user innovators’ (users creating and contributing to something for their own gain) ability to make products that function for them, whereas manufacturers and companies are forced to take a one size fits all approach to maximize reach and market share. I think that, while a one size fits all approach to products is a good one in many situations, in a situation where the product is supposed to be tailored for the user, a broader data contribution range and information database that is donated voluntarily provided by users could lead to unprecedented success in creating a more user friendly and capable virtual assistant.