What are you most excited about in the digital industry in 2023?
I’m most excited about the merging of two technologies, the existing voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant and then new large language models, such as ChatGPT.
With the merger of these two technologies, we might finally see ourselves getting closer to the virtual assistants we’ve experienced on the big screen. Where the conversation flows back and fore with the context of previous interactions remembered by the assistant.
Why are you most positive for your business in 2023?
Positivity is coming from the realisation of how conversational AI and other machine learning products can be used by organisations. Often businesses have decided to undertake a voice, ML or AI project to tick an innovation box. However, it seems now the wider industry is understanding how this technology can be used and the huge benefits it can have. This has come from practical implementations of the technology. Knowing about the technology is one thing, but seeing it in action in different use cases it what will spark usage.
How will the digital industry, and your company, help make life better for consumers or partners in 2023?
For me, it’s great to see the companies behind the voice assistants look beyond “typical users”. Those hard of hearing, or those who struggle with speech. Companies such as SoapBox Labs have created speech recognition trained specifically for children’s voices which can help children learn to speak.
Google has worked on training the Google Assistant to understand users with Downs Syndrome in Project Understood. While Amazon has expanded the Fire TV to connect to hearing aids, giving users access to audio and video content.
What technologies have you been most impressed with this year and which will have the most impact in 2023?
It has to be the subtle and smart integrations of ChatGPT-style technology into existing products. So, not someone going to the ChatGPT console and typing a request, but that technology integrated into an existing tool they were already using.
For example, Voiceflow, a tool we use for conversational design is now using this technology to automatically generate variations of text to be used within your conversational experience. It creates training phrases and slots that are used to power the experience, this was a painstaking and boring aspect of creating conversational AI products.
These features drastically reduce the time to get the product live by putting the technology into the software you are already using. This is going to be a growing trend for 2023 where companies will be integrating large language model technology into existing products with the view to improving efficiency and output quality.
What, if any, positive impacts on the digital industry could an economic downturn have?
For various reasons, many sectors are facing a staffing crisis currently. There are some green shoots of recovery, however, technology can have a major role to play. Streamlining processes using automation, conversational AI and robotics are all being used in sectors such as health and hospitality.
Often the public reaction is “robots and tech are taking our jobs” but the reality is that the technology is fulfilling tasks that aren’t getting done due to the shortfalls in staffing. It’s an exciting era for voice and the possibilities that are being presented are dramatically increasing whilst becoming more accessible for all.