There are many, many articles written about how millennials are texting more than they talk on their phones. A huge number of younger people literally never use their smart phone as a phone. And even we older people become less inclined to talk when text, email, Snapchat, or some other variant does a splendid job.
The interesting thing though is that we are simultaneously being pushed more and more into talking to our computers. We talk to Google Assistant on our phone, we talk to the assistant via ear-buds, we talk to it via the speaker in Google Home. From the perspective of someone who grew up using a phone as a phone – you know as a device to talk with other people – that’s a fascinating change in approach.
It’s also a classic case of why the future is so hard to predict. It’s not only about the level of computing power that is required to make talking work. You also have to have smart-phones as ubiquitous devices, and you must have the always-accessible cloud available for storage, and access to even bigger computers in the cloud, and so on. Ten years ago the chain of advances required to achieve the fundamental change in approach could not have been contemplated.
And yet here we are. Where we used to talk, we now type. And where we used to type, we now talk.
Of course the future almost certainly brings those together into one stream where we talk to our assistant and it does the rest – ‘OK Google, say happy birthday from me to Fred.”, “Hey Google, contact Telstra and tell them I have already paid my phone bill.”, “OK Bixby, tell my partner I’m going to be late home.”
It’s funny how these things creep up on you.