This holiday season Amazon and Google pushed hard to market their respective virtual voice assistants -- Amazon Echo and Google Home -- which soon may come to dominate household activity.
Voice technology has an advantage over other tech innovations because it's easy to use. Simply speak into a device and voice-translation technology seamlessly obeys your command. Customers don't need to master new interfaces. They simply do what they've done their entire lives -- talk.
Voice assistants are embedded into almost every new household appliance these days as tech companies race to gain a monopoly on the internet-of-things. In the near future, consumers may be motivated to buy compatible household appliances that are supported by one technology company so that everything operates on the same system.
Amazon is even thinking about putting ads into their devices, which means a voice assistant, in addition to taking orders, might also make recommendations, sort of like the guy on the loudspeaker at the grocery store who continuously announces the daily specials.
A potentially creepy factor might also come into play. Digital assistants (Amazon Echo, Siri, the lady in your GPS) already speak to you in soothing tones. What happens when she (and it's always a she) adds Artificial Intelligence (another day-to-day technology looming on the horizon) to her arsenal? Will she become an ideal companion who changes and adapts to your personality, offering lifestyle advice along with recommending new things to buy? Will she then become your new best friend?