Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Jan. 16th
Well, that’s one way to innovate.
Reports are circulating the web that the actress who voices Cortana in the blockbuster video game series Halo will be reprising the role for a Siri-like feature on Windows phones and Microsoft’s Bing app this year, with a final destination of the XboxOne and the next iteration of Windows. Rumors circulated this fall, but regained new strength thanks to the MSFTnerd blog.
Microsoft has been working on improving speech recognition, which is the core user interface of the XboxOne game console, for some time. This, however, represents another front in the speech recognition race: the “identity” of the “intelligent agent” (to use Siri’s term).
There’s potential for a market in “A.I.” personalities based on popular franchises. Cortana’s a natural for Halo fans, but how much might someone play to have Scarlett Johansson’s Samantha reading email, or Paul Bettany’s Jarvis from Iron Man? Turn by turn instructions from C-3PO, or Samuel L. Jackson bringing you the mother-loving weather? It would have to be a lot, recording tracks for these interfaces take for-ev-er and name actors don’t come cheap.
That we will see a market full of alternate identities for our virtual assistants feels like an inevitability to me, the only real question is: are we there yet? The core technology of speech recognition has a long way to go, and while this could make the user experience more *fun* it won’t necessairly make it any less *frustrating* than it can be today.