- Speaking to the crowd at the Amazon Web Service user conference on Thursday, Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, envisioned a world free from keyboards, screens, and remote controls.
- Vogels said so-called natural interfaces such as voice and visual signals will become predominant in human-computer interactions.
- Vogels announced a new product, Amazon Alexa for Business, which will adapt the popular voice assistant to offices and conference room environments.
When you’re interacting with computers in the not-so-distant future, you’ll probably be talking to them instead of using a keyboard or a smartphone app.
At least that’s the view of Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer. Speaking at the Amazon Web Service user conference in Las Vegas on Thursday, Vogels said keyboards and screens will die out in favor of more intuitive ways of interacting with devices, most notably voice communication.
“This is not a Slack channel. I’m actually talking to you,” Vogels joked to his live audience. “And apparently you came here to hear someone talk.”
In coming years, surgeons will guide machines in the operating room with just their voices, he said, and home chefs will check recipes without having to wash their hands between steps. That will be a boon to people like him, he said.
“I’m a stupid European. I can never remember how many milliliters go in a cup,” Vogels said.
Vogels and Amazon, of course, think the company’s Alexa voice assistant will be an ideal way for consumers to interact with computers in this brave new world. As part of his talk, Vogels announced a new product called Alexa for Business that will allow enterprises to tap into the popular voice assistant.
To be sure, voice won’t be the only way we interact with computers, Vogels said. Instead, we’ll see other kinds of so-called natural interfaces, he said, envisioning a world free from light switches, remote controls, and specialized apps.
Instead of relying on a smartphone app to track gas or electricity consumption, for example, Vogels said it would make more sense to have a light on the wall that changes colors. Depending on the colors it displayed, the light could indicate if you’re within your home energy goals.
“Just like Billy Bass, all of our environment will become active,” Vogels said, referencing the animatronic singing fish which one hobbyist famously linked up with Alexa.