When I was a teenager, the future was the Babel Fish. A fictitious fish that could be inserted into an ear to deliver translation from any (galactic) language.
Later, with typical geek humour, we had babelfish.com which was clever but didn’t offer real time translation like its fishy namesake.
Then Skype did some cool stuff with translation, which felt like the future. Until today, when Google launched the Pixel earbuds, which translate 20 languages in real-time. And they’re wireless too.
It’s not quite a fish you stick in your ear, but this is truly the future. I can’t wait to see how these work, and whats next.
I have been spending a lot of time writing a business plan recently. Defining a vision, and strategies to move toward that future state, then in the time honoured tradition breaking those strategies into chunks of achievable work.
So, this quote feels particularly appropriate:
The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. – John Schaar
Whilst writing my vision and defining the future state I’ve realised that for this situation, I’m building new pathways, and that is changing more than just the business.
We’ve been using Amazon Echo devices at home for about a month, there are three ‘Dots’ around the house, and they get used daily, mainly for music streaming and general information.
I’m a massive fan. This technology feels like the future, much more than virtual reality or giant screens that take up a wall. The Alexa interface to the AI feels like a natural and intimate way to communicate, and once we all discover how to talk casually to a computer, things will seem less ‘deliberate’.
We’re still a way off the fluidity and intelligence of the interface in ‘Her’, but so far, so good.
The next step is to build the skills that the Alexa operating system can understand. Amazon has made it easy to build skills and get them into the marketplace. As more developers get on board, the network effect of Alexa will improve. Enhanced skills, along with different form factors, will make the Alexa ecosystem a genuinely useful place to be.
For now, the deep pockets of Amazon mean that Alexa is here to stay. Especially in this house.