Typing to AI assistants might be the way to go

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The Silent Revolution: Why Typing to Siri Makes Sense in a World of Talking Tech

We live in a world of talking tech. “Hey Google,” “Alexa,” “Siri,” the ubiquitous voice commands are everywhere. While these digital assistants offer convenience and hands-free control, they often come with a silent price – our aversion to using them in public.

The uncomfortable feeling of talking to a device in public, surrounded by other people, is a shared experience. As one writer eloquently described: "In the privacy of my own home, I’ve got no problem saying “hey” to Google, Alexa, Siri, Meta, and on occasion, Bixby. But out in public? Where other people can perceive me? I’d rather crawl under a rock."

This reluctance stems from a complex mix of social pressure, privacy concerns, and the inherent limitations of voice-based interaction. While voice commands are becoming more sophisticated, they are still prone to misinterpretation and miscommunication in noisy or complex environments. There’s a certain amount of performance anxiety associated with speaking to a machine, especially when we’re worried about sounding unnatural or being judged for our perceived "technological prowess."

The good news? Change is coming. At Apple’s recent WWDC keynote, the company announced a feature that feels like a breath of fresh air for those of us who prefer to keep our tech interactions discreet – the ability to type to Siri in iOS 18.

This isn’t entirely new. Technically, you could already use the iPhone’s accessibility settings to type to Siri. But iOS 18 takes this feature beyond its bare-boned beginnings, integrating a seamless Siri keyboard into the user experience. With a simple double-tap on the bottom of the screen, you’ll be able to type out your commands, just like you would on any other keyboard. Furthermore, the system will even offer intelligent suggestions for your queries, making the interaction even faster and less obtrusive.

This shift towards text-based interaction with Siri is significant for several reasons:

  • It mitigates the awkwardness of voice command interactions. Speaking to your phone in public can feel unnatural and even a little embarrassing. Typing your commands provides a sense of control and allows us to interact with technology in a more comfortable way.

  • It addresses the limitations of voice recognition in noisy environments. Whether you’re on a crowded street, in a busy restaurant, or simply struggling to be heard by your device, background noise can severely hamper voice recognition capabilities. Typing ensures your query gets through, even in the most challenging environments.

  • It prioritizes privacy and confidentiality. Sometimes, we don’t want the world to know what we’re asking our devices. Typing out our commands allows us to maintain that privacy, providing a level of discretion not found with voice interactions.

  • It encourages greater accessibility and inclusivity. For individuals who have difficulty speaking or who prefer to interact with technology through text, typing to Siri provides a more accessible and comfortable way to use the assistant.

This isn’t to say that voice commands are becoming obsolete. They undoubtedly have their place – especially in hands-free situations or when accessibility is paramount. But the inclusion of text-based interaction opens up a new realm of possibilities, making AI assistants more widely usable and accessible for a wider range of users.

Consider the wider impact of this shift. This move could signify a "silent revolution" within the world of AI. It’s a recognition that not everyone is comfortable with voice-based interfaces, and that the future of AI interactions requires a more nuanced and inclusive approach.

The key takeaway? The best AI assistants are the ones that blend seamlessly into our lives, rather than forcing us to adapt to their paradigm. By providing users with multiple ways to interact, technology becomes more approachable, accessible, and ultimately, more human.

This shift towards text-based interactions could be the spark that ignites a new wave of technological innovation. It might not be as flashy as talking to your phone, but typing to Siri offers a silent yet powerful message: technology should meet us where we are, not the other way around.

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Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the industry. She has a knack for identifying the next big thing in startups and has reviewed countless internet products. Emily's deep insights and thorough analysis make her a trusted voice in the tech news arena.
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