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Today, we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with artificial intelligence (A.I.) and how individuals will interact with its various forms. Every single aspect of our society — from cars to houses to products to services — will be reimagined and redesigned to incorporate A.I.
A child born in the year 2030 will not comprehend why his or her parents once had to manually turn on the lights in the living room. In the future, the smart home will seamlessly know the needs, wants, and habits of the individuals who live in the home prior to them taking an action.
Before we arrive at this future, it is helpful to take a step back and reimagine how we design cars, houses, products, and services. We are just beginning to see glimpses of this future with the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart voice assistants.
Amazon, Apple, Google, and to some extent Microsoft understand that the future of computing is voice input, powered by artificial intelligence. Moving towards a future where voice will become the primary input command will balance the playing field and allow those who have medical conditions such as early stage Alzheimer’s to continue to communicate and interact with society.
Rick Phelps, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in June 2010, sums up his experience with the Amazon Echo: “It has afforded me something that I have lost. Memory. I can ask Alexa anything and I get the answer instantly.”
The experience which Mr. Phelps describes is the future of computing. It is a future in which every car, house, product, and service is connected to the internet and powered by artificial intelligence, and one where all people of all ages can benefit.
Children of the future will grow up fully immersed in a world powered by artificial intelligence. The design of this child’s world will be completely different from our world today, as the child will learn how to communicate with a machine by the time they’re 2 years old.
As a child’s vocabulary grows into full sentences, their personal artificial intelligence engine will grow up with them. These children will grow up in a fully immersed world of A.I. where they will interact with everything using their voice.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, recently penned a blog post in which he described a similar future with artificial intelligence: “In the next 10 years, we will shift to a world that is A.I.-first, a world where computing becomes universally available — be it at home, at work, in the car, or on the go — and interacting with all of these surfaces becomes much more natural and intuitive, and above all, more intelligent.”
While the interaction becomes more natural, the way we design for a future which integrates artificial intelligence seamlessly into daily life will pose a challenge. But it’s a challenge worth tackling: The artificial intelligence industry is projected to grow to $70 billion by 2020 from just $8.2 billion in 2013 according to Bank of America.
Companies designing autonomous vehicles are experimenting with integrating voice computing platforms powered by artificial intelligence to enhance the passenger experience. As an example, in the recently released McKinsey & Company report, “Monetizing car data: New service business opportunities to create new customer benefits,” researchers use the example of “your lunchtime meeting has been cancelled, and a table for two at your favorite sushi restaurant nearby has just become available. A route that avoids current traffic can get you there in five minutes — wanna book and reroute?”
Yes, we do! The artificial intelligence engine will then book the reservation and reroute the car to the sushi restaurant. The data generated by this transaction will be part of the overall global revenue pool from car data monetization that is projected to rise to between $450 and $750 billion by 2030, according to McKinsey.
If you are traveling in a shared autonomous vehicle — which Morgan Stanley estimates will grow from 4 percent of global miles driven to 26 percent by 2030 — the vehicle will have been designed for functionality as opposed to aesthetics.
Using your smartphone as a key fob, the artificial intelligence in the shared autonomous vehicle will automatically set the vehicle for your riding preferences. In theory the same will be true for the smart home of the future, but the house will be shared with your family and friends, not necessarily strangers.
The popularity of the garage in the United States started around 1925 when houses with garages started to sell faster than homes without a garage. By 1939, 80 percent of all new houses built had a garage. This growth was partly fueled by the design of the automatic rolling garage door. Today, the necessity to design a garage for the smart home of the future is lessened as a majority of individuals will subscribe to an autonomous vehicle brand instead of owning a vehicle.
When you subscribe to a vehicle, 95 percent of the time you will not need to garage the vehicle when it is not in use. Instead of pulling up to your house and going through the routine of opening and closing the garage doors, the autonomous vehicle will drop you off at your front door. Upon entry, the house will be set the way you prefer with lighting, temperature, and music depending on the time of day you arrive.
The artificial intelligence that powers your smart home will understand the quirks that make you uniquely you and will ensure that the house operates in an efficient manner. The home will always be listening and waiting for voice commands to complete tasks.
When the home becomes a smart home and society is inherently intertwined with artificial intelligence, our habits and traits will change. Individuals will become smarter and more efficient as everything they own or subscribe to will be connected to an artificial intelligence engine. This gigantic shift in society will have a dramatic impact on how cars, houses, products, and services are designed.
Will you be ready for the change?
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