Can Chatty AI Replace The Screen?

AI Assistants may make GUI obsolete.

“Order me a large mushroom pizza. “
“Get me an uber.”
“Show me available flights to Tahoe next month.”

That may become the number one way you interact with your smartphone. I’m talking, of course, about AI assistants.

In the past, I’ve written about how chatbots will change UI/UX, but now I’m going to take it a logical step forward. Conversational AI may be able to replace graphical displays altogether.

Instead of opening an app or program, waiting for a landing page, scrolling through menus, and eventually navigating to the tool or feature you’re looking for, you’ll just say “Hey iPhone, do this.”

As far as designers have come in making UX and UI as streamlined and intuitive as ever, it’s hard to beat instant AI. Speaking plain English is just easier than using a menu, no matter how aesthetically pleasing it is.

Plus, less time spent navigating and looking for features means you can spend more time enjoying and using a service. Additionally, the fewer resources dedicated to loading and displaying content, the faster services can be deployed. Chatbots represent the ultimate software streamlining.

Skeptical? Look at Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Both are nifty AI-loaded devices that don’t have screens or displays of any kind (setup is done through a smartphone app — that’s the only time you’ll need a screen to use Alexa, at least). Both of these devices put AI in your home, and allow you to connect with apps at any time using only your voice, no need for buttons or a screen.


Amazon’s Echo Dot (Note the lack of screen)


For further proof, look at the new iPhone 7.

With Airpods, Apple’s latest earbud iteration, iPhone users will be able to control Siri using only voice. Always connected and always listening, Siri can be the sole conduit through which you use your iPhone. Now that talking to yourself via headphones is socially acceptable, there is nothing stopping users from using Siri to control their phone entirely hands-free.

What does that mean for apps? Mainly, it means that you’ve got to integrate. Siri integration can be done using Sirikit. There are other AI assistants out there growing in sophistication too, such as Hound, Facebook M, Google Now, and others.

As consumer technology makes the transition from user-controlled to AI-driven, you can make a safe bet that we’ll start to see more apps that integrate intelligently with AI assistants, and that we’ll also see more apps offering their own chat bots or voice bots.

Ultimately, the question isn’t whether or not this is possible, it’s whether or not users will like talking to AI assistants more than they like using apps. As of right now, the jury is out. Surveys show modest numbers regarding AI use, but most of the users surveyed said that AI makes their lives easier.

This shows that AI still has plenty of room to grow, and that consumers are still getting used to the idea of having an always-on AI assistant. Nonetheless, companies are pouring billions into productizing AI and integrating chat bots into their products, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and consider the implications of this amazing new technology.

Have an idea for an AI-related product or service? You’re in the right place.