You don’t have to be a CEO to have an executive assistant anymore. Meet Siri, Alexa, Jibo, and Cortana, just four of the new artificially intelligent digital assistants from prominent technology companies designed to make your life easier. By a simple voice command they will answer your every question, restock your groceries, order lunch, remind you of your next appointment, and fire up the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
But before you welcome them into your home, you might want to ask where that friendly (why do they all tend to be female?!) voice is really coming from. Behind this technology are companies vying to bring you into the conversation age. Whoever succeeds will know us more intimately than ever before—our needs, thoughts, and desires—allowing them to exert even more influence over our lives. Which begs the question: will they help keep our secrets?
Join Future Tense for a happy hour conversation in Washington, D.C. on June 8th to discuss the technology behind our new helpers and their cultural implications for society.
Refreshments will be served.
Follow the conversation online using #DigitalHelp and by following @FutureTenseNow.
Senior Technology Writer, Slate
Director, Better Life Lab Program and The Good Life Initiative at New America
Author, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time
Opinion Writer, The Washington Post