Talk to me… my thoughts on voice based content discovery

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we interface with the digital world and the physical for some time but recently the emergence of voice as a proper means to interact with digital devices has started to take off. Google assist, Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa and not to forget Samsung Bixby. No doubt there are more, especially from China and companies that under pin voice technology like Nuance.

All these systems/platforms so far have been fairly good as providing answers to specific questions. For example I’m looking for X, or show me stuff with Y. The results are displayed, usually as a list in some specified order. That’s great and it works but sometimes and specifically in the context of content discovery, you may not know specifically what you’re looking for. You might have a vague idea but it might not be as fully formed as to be precise which the current systems want.

In the TV space, the current voice based systems are in effect, a interface layer that is just purely recognition. Whilst very important it still doesn’t solve the underlying issue in content discovery of finding something that goes beyond recommendations of past behaviour or taste/genre based recommendations. The serendipitous form of discovery that occurs in live tv or via curiosity, that isn’t present in on demand systems. In essence I want to break free from the silos and bubbles that have been created by current content discovery, and I want voice based interfaces to be the means of escape.

What I’d like to see from this emergence of voice driven interfaces for TV, is a way to converse with the system, using AI to provide a means that allows me to find a specific clip of a given film with a actor (whom I may or may not know the name of) and be played that. For example I could ask the system to show the clip or movie where a actor shouts out “Get to the chopper billy”

Which films it’s from, may be known to many and who the actor is as well. But these kinds of very rough non-specific queries are how we all think (well I certainly do anyhow).

This for me is where we should be heading. Allowing people to talk freely and in a way that suits them and to be provided information and content that matches their expectation. Free flowing queries with free flowing answers which doesn’t make you click a link or redirect you to a webpage.

There’s some interesting developments happening in this space and no doubt in the coming years it’ll improve greatly.