Here’s How Digital Assistants Should Work.

5 years ago, Google and Amazon were touting the digital assistant as the future of consumer electronics. The promise of a smart assistant deeply integrated into your home seemed enticing, with countless possibilities and a more simplified user interface, it seemed that the digital assistant could become a truly massive new platform, up there with the likes of those built by the smart phone and personal computer. But 5 years on, it’s not difficult to see that Google and Amazon’s dream for the digital assistant hasn’t really taken off. While digital assistants have certainly become more popular, they haven’t become much more powerful, and due to this we’re largely using them for the same things we were 5 years ago, that is: asking what the weather is and queuing Spotify playlists. But it doesn’t have to be this way, digital assistants can be truly useful and powerful tools, tools that could greatly simplify our lives and the technology they are integrated with. But to accomplish such a level of usefulness would require more than the efforts of just Amazon, Google, and Apple, it would require a new digital assistant “operating system” of sorts, with different developers integrating their own digital assistants as applications within those “operating systems”. This approach would allow digital assistants to have much deeper and tighter integration with third party applications and services, while still giving the companies behind the digital assistants control over their respective platforms. Digital assistants aren’t going to get any better by their companies efforts alone, and they will only reach their true potential with the combined effort of thousands of devlopers working for hundreds of companies.

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