The development and proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) use cases in our lives have come a long way, especially since the creation of one of the first versions of a chatbot back in 1964 – Eliza. Eliza was just pioneering conversations with human beings then.
55 years later, we have a large range of AI-powered creations, from Jamie, our dear assistant at government websites like CPF, to our affectionate pocket assistants who have some major personality to boot.
In its rawest form, AI is simply a bunch of codes. I mean, look at Eliza. Pure computer-based interaction.
if “BYE” found in reply:
return (“BYE AND KEEP IN TOUCH”)
However, such basic developments are boring, especially in today’s age. We humans are social beings; we seek to communicate, interact, we seek community. Imagine communicating to Siri by typing HEY SIRI WHAT IS TODAY’S MOVIE TIMES–Personally, I would rather call up the theatres and make notes than get it via this format.
Thankfully, we realise this need and have been modelling our AI solutions to be at least a little more relatable:
With voice-powered inputs and personality infused into our amazing voice-powered assistants like Siri, the next development that awaits us is…. Virtual intelligence!
Virtual intelligence–or visualised artificial intelligence– is the next step in making AI more relatable to our day to day communication with our environment. No matter how sassy and entertaining Siri is, I simply cannot envision it to be a she or he, nor like a literal personal assistant attending to my needs.
Having an animated figure takes it a notch further, adding an even closer personal touch to our interactions with AI.
Having a ‘human’ AI help me with my requests makes the entire experience livelier and even more realistic. Now, not only does the lady AI have the brains to understand my requests, she also has the personality and even some good visuals to boot.
She can walk to my computer to show that she is helping me google my requests, walk to turn on my television for me and perhaps even unlock my car for me.
‘Valerie’, my smart and pretty AI assistant will be my perfect assistant; no longer an embedded solution with a name like Siri, reminding me that my speech is merely processed by a bunch of codes… or like Jamie earlier who does not understand a thing about valentine’s day.
AI And Smart Buildings
Having virtual intelligence on top of AI can be beneficial in many use cases.
In fact, most AI use cases today are more functional than experiential. They fulfil their work but do not provide enough feedback. This is terrible for use cases where visuals are very much needed to realise the benefits of implementing AI.
Take a smart building for example. A smart building has a plethora of AI-augmented features, ranging from air conditioning to controlling energy usage. Many things are happening simultaneously, with data collection from the many sensors on the building, AI data processing and the eventual output of perhaps a decrease in air conditioning temperature.
All these are great, except we as humans do not know what the AI has done for us. Temperature changes can be subtle and someone who is feeling the heat might proceed to turn down the temperature even further, without realising what the AI has already done. Guests who arrive at the building could use a virtual guide to their designated floor and office unit. Security, monitoring and emergency situations could use guidance from virtual assistants as well.
Without visualising these features of the AI solution that is embedded in smart buildings, the typical user may not even feel the difference between a smart building and a normal one. What is the point of having a smart building if we do not know what has been done for us?
With virtual intelligence, we can see the AI using the air conditioner controller and switching off the lights of unused rooms. We will see what the AI has done, just like how we see our colleagues turning off the lights of a function room after a meeting. This way, we would visually recognise the changes that the AI has done to the building, for our benefit.
The Future Is Bright
There are many more of such use cases that could benefit from having virtual intelligence, with smart building just being one of them. The bigger the AI solution, the more impactful it will be when visuals are implemented on top of the solution.
AI has come a long way since its inception. The world will see newer developments with smarter solutions and better performance. However, let us not forget that these solutions should be delivered in a manner that is natural to us; not just speaking and awaiting responses but visually observing the responses as well.