Friendship, loneliness, and conversational AI
So don't freak out, we're only twenty something
All I know is that with you there's something so different
And that will never slow down
In Scott Galloway’s new book Adrift, there’s a startling finding:
Sure, when you sit at home for 2+ years, you lose things. Friends included.
But the pandemic isn’t completely responsible. This so-called “information age” brought with it isolation and loneliness, long before a novel coronavirus showed up.
We’ve gotten confused, in this not-very-enlightened era of ours, and frequently forget what it is that makes great people great.
Being a friend obviously has nothing to do with sharing another person’s political beliefs, has nothing to do with sharing their hobbies and interests, and has nothing to do with sharing similar experiences.
It is much simpler than all that.
It’s just a compromise: I’ll listen to you and care about what it is you’re saying, whether I agree with it entirely or not, while you do the same for me.
And when the time comes, we’ll risk what belongs to us to preserve and even grow what belongs to our friends, which will give us the opportunity to show we truly care.
But we’ve made simple things complex, and so we lost them.
Conversational AI, and the voice assistants living as a subset within, have massive potential to be much more friendly. And thereby much more useful.
I’ve long been a believer there’s at least one thriving social network waiting to be built on the back of the mainstream Amazon Alexa / Google Assistant ecosystems. Something clever and elegant, that connects people in meaningful ways, minus a lot of the noise that dominates Facebook and Twitter.
While we haven’t seen that yet, we also haven’t seen many conversational AI systems morph into the fully evolved content delivery systems they are destined to become.
A car should be a non-stop fountain of information while in transit, as should a voice assistant in a hospital setting, as should a voice assistant in a hotel room, as should a voice assistant being used while playing a video game.
And part of that information could be facilitating discovery of new friends.
It’s helpful to reflect on the deep irony that while the value proposition of many conversational AI systems is to eliminate the need for so many pesky people being involved in mundane business tasks, that their purpose - and highest calling - is to involve many, many more humans in how they ultimately deliver value to users.
Getting announced tomorrow morning is the addition of the legendary Neil Jacobstein (Chair, AI & Robotics, Singularity University; Founding Board Member, AAAS Science Robotics) to the growing Project Voice 2023 program.
Project Voice, the main conference here in the US for conversational AI and voice technology, will be larger than ever, with 2500 attendees from across the world, and over 100 media outlets covering the transformation voice/AI has brought to nearly every industry under the sun.
We are building something important. It will be more important with you there with us.
Registration is available here. Sponsorship information can be requested at email@example.com.
Please note that both the price of registration along with our usual sponsorship package increase on November 1.
Last week, we announced the Women Leaders of Conversational AI, Class of 2023, who will be honored at the Project Voice Women’s Summit that will precede Project Voice Week in April.
This Thursday (Oct 20), I will speak on the This Week In Voice podcast about this program in general, answering some common questions about it, and will speak to each one of these women leaders and why we’re grateful for their work and them being on this list.
That show will go live on major podcast providers, along with YouTube, Thursday evening.