I recently made a bet with my brother that by the year 2036 we will have more meaningful relationships with software than with humans. And frankly it will probably happen a lot sooner than that.
PART TWO | Talking to Computers
This will likely be reality within 20 years because of trends in communication technology. We have been progressing this way, if unknowingly, for quite some time. In many respects, new technologies have always served the same purpose: to save time. Communication technologies are just one example.
New technologies are invented to save us time.
- Farming allowed us to grow food in one location so we didn’t have to keep moving in order to scavenge for more food, which saved time.
- The automobile allowed us to get from point A to point B faster than a horse, which saved time.
- The washing machine and dryer allowed us to clean clothing with far less manual intervention, which saved time.
But instead of a laundry list 👗👔 (pun intended), let’s do a deep dive into a specific sector. Because the saying time is money is most literally true in the stock market and our relationship with software has revolutionized the industry, we’ll look at that.
When time is money
In the stock market efficiency is vital and time is quite literally money. Today, millions can be made and lost in less than a second with high-frequency trading. But it wasn’t always that way. When Wall St. began — to vastly simplify — trading depended on how quickly two members could reach a deal by shouting at one another from across the floor of the stock exchange. This method of communication obviously limited the number of people who could participate, so the stock market began leveraging ticker tape and telephones. Now anyone across the country with access to a ticker tape machine could see near real-time market valuations. Then in a matter of seconds anyone could call their broker on the floor and expect to have a trade executed that day. This technological leap offered massive efficiency gains.
Fast forward to present-day and the common investor has a plethora of choices from online trading applications to robo-investors, which have streamlined the process even further. The evolution of the stock market provides a nice vantage point to view the introduction and democratization of communication especially in terms of software. And while the industries are vastly different, the fundamental idea here is the same as ordering pizza: efficiency.
Improvements in communication are all about giving us back time. And computers are just more efficient communicators than people ever could be. This is why communication whether for business or socializing has been disrupted by software and this trend is only going to increase.
But the software isn’t perfect yet.
One major roadblock at present is software’s lack of conversational nuance. While this is frustrating right now, software’s understanding of nuance is continuously improving thanks to machine learning. And it is important to note that even the most intelligent people don’t always have the best judgment when communicating either…
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologized after inserting a smiling cartoon likeness of himself into images of…nypost.com
But regardless of human deficiencies, creating more ‘human-like’ chatbots and conversations is a major hurdle for being accepted by everyday people.
Becoming a member of the family
Devices such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home are some of the first attempts at bridging the computer to human gap with personalized software assistants. Their job is to get the public comfortable with this new level of tech invasiveness. Because of these innovations, talking with robots is becoming more natural and accepted. As these technologies proliferate, we will get to a point when we won’t be able to find a speaker without a smart assistant built in. In fact, we are not to far away from when these AI-personal assistants will feel like members of the family, which of course will save us time.