Volley Co-Founder Says Industry ‘Went Wrong’ by Coupling Voice Control With ‘Imaginary Humans’ (Podcast)

Volley co-founder Max Child sees a bright future for voice control in the tech world, but says the industry has “gone wrong” by pairing voice control with “imaginary people” like Siri and Alexa.

“We went a bit wrong as one industry has very tightly coupled voice control with imaginary people and little cylinders sitting on your desk,” Child said on TheWrap’s Tech vs Media podcast, co-hosted by Richard Wolpert. “I think the speech recognition is actually pretty good, and I think you could actually do a lot of pretty basic things on your computer or on your phone [and] on these smart home devices without having an imaginary human living inside your devices.”

As technology surrounding voice control and AI rapidly advances, Child identifies Siri and voice control on Apple devices in particular as one aspect that “hindered” the service by “overdoing and underdelivering” voice control capabilities.

“Once it occurred to people that any voice control of the UI had to be done with an imaginary AI assistant person, I think you open up and say, ‘Well, that person should be able to answer any question that a human can answer.’ That’s a pretty broad range of things,” Child explained, adding that the human component could encourage users to ask follow-up questions that the AI ​​isn’t programmed to answer.

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On the other hand, Child sees Siri on Apple TV as a “better experience” because the format limits user expectations for AI to just control volume and programming – similar to how Alexa functions when playing music.

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Child, whose company Volley developed voice control games like Song Quiz and Yes Sire, predicts that voice control will become part of every “computer device”. [users’] lives in five to 10 years” – including virtual reality.

“When we get into a universe with AR and VR glasses, it’s crazy not to think that you would talk to these devices and do a lot of these things … with your voice,” Child said, adding that even cars Voice control functions will take over. “The market to me is like all computing devices – that doesn’t mean we’re going to be successful on all computing devices – but I think the penetration is really ubiquitous.”

For the co-founder, the introduction of voice control is an intuitive step for tech, as “speaking is still the most natural way to communicate with anything … to manifest one’s beliefs or desires in the world.”

“Computers have evolved to be more human-friendly, to be more intuitive for humans,” he said. “It seems very simple that we will use language to interact with our computing devices. It’s really just about how you can get the software and voice recognition to work in a way that’s really easy to use [and] it is as easy to use as a touchscreen.”

Listen to the full episode below.

Episode Highlights:

  • Max Child explains Volley’s goal of becoming a “homepage for voice control games on all kinds of devices”.

  • Max Child goes through the accessibility that comes with voice control programs

  • Max Child examines how voice control and creative AI functions could interact in games

  • Max Child Predicts Alexa Could Boost Amazon Music Sales

  • Max Child explains why he thinks Siri on Apple TV is a “better experience” than Siri on iPhone

  • Max Child notes that the industry is undergoing a transition from “deterministic programming to AI and machine learning programming.”

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About “Technology vs. Media”

In each episode of Tech vs Media, host Richard Wolpert – who has decades of technology and media experience as an executive, technology company founder, venture capitalist and philanthropist – and one of his esteemed guests will share insightful lessons and offer their insightful perspective on the makers, Makers, disruptors and innovators shaping the future of media and technology and how these industries are becoming intertwined.

New episodes of “Tech vs Media” appear weekly. Click here for all episodes.

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