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Multi-Device Digital Assistance

Communications of the ACM

The use of multiple digital devices to support people's daily activities has long been discussed.11 Multi-device experiences (MDXs) spanning multiple devices simultaneously are viable for many individuals. Each device has unique strengths in aspects such as display, compute, portability, sensing, communications, and input. Despite the potential to utilize the portfolio of devices at their disposal, people typically use just one device per task; meaning they may need to make compromises in the tasks they attempt or may underperform at the task at hand. It also means the support that digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Microsoft Cortana can offer is limited to what is possible on the current device.

Shopping by voice on Amazon or Google device could cost you

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

A new feature allows users to ask Amazon's voice assistant Alexa to play "baby making jazz music." FILE - This file photo provided by Amazon shows models of the Amazon Echo Show. With Echo Show, Amazon has given its voice-enabled Echo speaker a touch screen and video-calling capabilities as it competes with Google's efforts at bringing "smarts" to the home. Amazon has been ramping up efforts to get more people to shop using the Alexa voice assistant on Echo speakers and other Amazon devices. NEW YORK -- In the name of convenience, Amazon and Walmart are pushing people to shop by just talking to a digital assistant.

Google Assistant now gives you more control over connected devices


There are further Assistant updates regardless of how connected your home might be. Actions now include more advanced media playback for formats beyond music and podcasts. You can listen to clips from TV shows or a white noise generator, for instance, and get control over it like you would any other media format. You can also subscribe to daily updates and other notifications on your phone if you always want the latest news, and there's now a browsing carousel when you have a plethora of visual choices (clearly, this only works on screen-equipped devices). While all these updates are helpful, Custom Device Actions may hold the most potential.

What if human intelligent digital assistants were real


Today, I came across "Get Lauren" an art-installation / performance by Lauren McCarthy, and that got me thinking. For her installation, Lauren has equipped a couple of real people with internet-of-things devices and has followed the participants for 24 hours for a number of days. Through the devices Lauren was able to interact with the people and their environment, setting the lights, playing music or providing information. Lauren was, in fact, a human equivalent to the Artificial Intelligence used by products like Alexa or Siri.