IAA World Congress: In 2 years, technology will be more intuitive: Simon Kahn, Google APAC

Simon Kahn, CMO, Google APAC spoke about the future of Digital Immersion and how it will move beyond just looking at phones and using apps to becoming an immersive part of everyday life

Simon Kahn

At the 44th IAA World Congress held in Kochi, Simon Kahn, CMO, Google APAC spoke about the future of Digital Immersion. He spoke about how it will move beyond just looking at phones and using apps to technology actually becoming an immersive part of everyday life. Kahn said, “Today the interface has got better and technology has evolved, from something as basic as not having the need to key in an ‘http’ before every search on the internet. Today we can use keywords directly and all we need to do is train our hands and brains to key in what we are thinking about. The use of mouse took it a step further wherein it became a little more intuitive and then came touchpads which changed the way interfaces were used, so much so that even kids can use it effortlessly.”

He elaborated that as computers become more perceptive, the next wave of technology will come in three steps – Assist, Augment and Accelerate. Kahn says, “For over three decades computers gave us access to information but we had to interact with technology on technology’s terms. The goal is to change that equation and make it a natural experience. In 2013 the voice and speech recognition technology understood 75% of the human speech accurately. In three years of time that percentage has moved up to 95%.”

Another key aspect that he feels is necessary, is for the Google Assistant to understand the cultural nuances and cultural references to get human speech better. For example, in Australia, the population uses slang very heavily and thus it was important that the Google Voice Assistant has a good understanding of that to interpret what the consumer needs and thus the engineers there put together a lot of information on the slang to serve users better.

In India, he says, “Google partnered with Flipkart for the big billion days promotion where they created a hagglebot with which users could bargain using voice and decide on the best price for the product. The average negotiation session lasted six minutes. Gaming systems on the other end can use communication with gestures and non-verbal cues. In fact even with YouTube, soon you may have a system wherein you can wave your hand left and right to turn on or turn off videos.”

Kahn says that in two years there will be rapid changes to computing and development technology which will help make it a lot more intuitive. There will be blurring of lines between offline and online; consumers can lead their life without worrying about integrating devices because they will naturally blend into the scheme of things.

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