You probably have a conversation every day with a voice assistant, but have you ever wondered how he or she can understand you?
Voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant, are designed to recognize human speech and respond accordingly. They use a combination of hardware and software technologies to accomplish this.
Hardware Components of a Voice Assistant
The hardware components include microphones and speakers, which allow the voice assistant to listen to what the user is saying and respond with spoken answers. These microphones are usually designed to pick up sound from a wide range of angles and distances so that the user doesn’t have to be directly in front of the device to be heard.
A microphone is an essential part of any voice assistant, as it allows the device to hear and capture the user’s voice. Voice assistants usually have multiple microphones designed to pick up sound from different directions and filter out background noise, they can recognize your voice from a few meters away.
A speaker is another critical component of a voice assistant, as it allows the device to respond to the user’s commands or queries with spoken feedback. The speaker can also play music or other audio content, at the user’s choice.
A powerful processor is necessary to process the large amounts of data involved in speech recognition, natural language processing, several smart device control, and other functions of the voice assistant.
Voice assistants need to be connected to the internet to function properly. This allows them to access cloud-based services for speech recognition, natural language processing, and other functions. Voice assistants that support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, can be connected to other devices such as smartphones or smart home devices.
Some voice assistants may also include sensors such as proximity sensors or light sensors. These sensors can help the device better understand the user’s context and environment, such as whether they are near the device or if the room is dark.
Software Components of a Voice Assistant
The software components are more complex and involve a variety of techniques to understand what the user is saying. Voice assistant takes a multitude of processes from the moment it receives a command to giving a response back or starting the action.
If you’ve ever wondered how a voice assistant responds back to you, below are the steps.
Voice assistants use algorithms that analyze the sound waves of spoken words to transcribe them into text. This process involves breaking down the sound waves into smaller units called phonemes, which are then combined to form words and sentences.
Natural language processing (NLP)
Once the speech has been transcribed, the voice assistant uses NLP algorithms to understand the meaning of the words and phrases. This involves analyzing the syntax and semantics of the text to identify the user’s intent.
Voice assistants are constantly learning from user interactions to improve their ability to understand and respond to spoken commands. This involves training algorithms on large datasets of speech and text to identify patterns and improve accuracy.
Voice assistants also use contextual cues to help understand the user’s words. For example, they may use information about the user’s location, time of day, or recent search history to provide more accurate responses.
The First Voice Assistant
The first voice assistant is widely considered to be IBM’s “Shoebox,” which was developed in 1962. Shoebox was a machine that could recognize and respond to spoken commands, although its vocabulary was limited to just 16 words: zero, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, minus, plus, subtotal, total, false, and off. In its day, IBM’s “Shoebox”, was a technology that was ahead of its time.
However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that voice assistants became commercially available. In 1996, Dragon Systems released DragonDictate, a dictation software that could transcribe spoken words into text. Then, in 2001, Microsoft released their voice assistant, called “Microsoft Voice Command,” which allowed users to use voice commands to control their Windows Mobile devices.
The real breakthrough for voice assistants came in 2011 when Apple released Siri, their intelligent personal assistant for iOS devices. Siri was able to understand natural language commands and respond with spoken answers, setting a new standard for voice assistants. Nowadays, around 500 million people use Siri as a voice assistant, probably why it’s handy, and incorporated into their smartphones.
Since then, other tech companies such as Amazon and Google have released their own voice assistants, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.
Pros of Having a Voice Assistant
Voice assistants can be especially useful for individuals with disabilities or mobility issues, allowing them to control their environment and access information more easily.
Voice assistants can make life easier by performing a wide range of tasks through voice commands. You can ask your assistant to play music, set reminders, control smart home devices, make phone calls, send messages, and much more, without having to lift a finger.
Voice assistants can help you save time and be more productive. Instead of typing out a message or manually adjusting your smart home devices, you can simply ask your assistant to do it for you.
Voice assistants can provide entertainment through music, podcasts, and audiobooks, as well as answering trivia questions or telling jokes. Integration with other devices: Voice assistants can be integrated with other smart devices, allowing for greater control and automation of your home or office.
With a voice assistant, you can perform multiple tasks simultaneously, such as setting a reminder while cooking dinner or checking the weather while getting dressed.
It’s Worth Buying a Voice Assistant in 2023?
Voice assistants have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and they are expected to continue to be in demand in the coming years. They offer a range of benefits, such as convenience, efficiency, and entertainment, that many users find valuable.
If you already have a lot of smart devices in your home, a voice assistant may be a valuable addition that can help you control them more easily. If you are someone who enjoys hands-free interaction with technology, a voice assistant may also be a good investment.
Today, voice assistants have become ubiquitous, with millions of people using them to control smart home devices, search the internet, and perform a variety of other tasks. They continue to improve in accuracy and functionality thanks to ongoing advancements in machine learning and natural language processing.