Top news stories for Episode 4 (July 27, 2017):

1) Facebook is building its own Echo Show competitor. Is the company trusted enough by consumers to succeed in selling it?

 

2) Rolling Stone: How Smart Devices Could Violate Your Privacy

 

3) Former Amazon and Microsoft employees unite to launch "Roxy," a smart speaker aimed at business use. Quote from article: “We’re obviously placing a bet here, but we don’t believe that today’s consumer-facing speech enabled devices, namely Alexa … will ever be the best tool for the job for businesses.” 

 

4) Bringing out the big guns: Apple partners with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to produce short film promoting Siri use cases

 

5) Harvard Business Review: AI May Soon Replace Even The Most Elite Consultants

 

6) Google Roundup: Voicebot.ai reports GE appliances get Google integration; CEO Sundar Pichai discusses ramping up marketing and HR spend in support of #VoiceFirst approach

 

7) Samsung to launch Bixby-powered ear buds, in competition with AirPods, alongside Galaxy Note 8 this fall. Can they compete?

8) VoiceFirst.FM's "This Week In Voice" and "The VoiceFirst Roundtable" gain exclusive sponsor through end of 2017; will announce during podcast

Panel for Episode 4 (July 27, 2017):

Ahmed Bouzid

Dr. Ahmed Bouzid is Founder and CEO or Witlingo.  Dr. Bouzid is also co-founder and Director of the Ubiquitous Voice Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of evangelizing the emerging voice interface, and author of two books on Voice User Interface design. (Dr. Bouzid's recent article on discovery of voice skills, referenced in a previous episode of This Week In Voice, is here.)

 

Brian Roemmele

Brian just published issue number 6 of Multiplex Magazine called The Enchanted Loom. He explores a new AI concept for Voice First systems called Artificial Understanding. Get the Read Multiplex App at the iOS store and subscribe for this and the entire catalog of magazines.

Adam Marchick

Adam Marchick is co-founder and CEO of VoiceLabs, which provides Voice Experience Analytics. VoiceLabs is the most widely used analytics service for Amazon Alexa and Google Home applications, featuring compelling capabilities such as Voice Pathing, User Profiles and Voice KPIs. 

Transcript:

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:00:12] Hi. And welcome back to This Week In Voice Episode 4 for July 27, 2017. There were a number of factors that were out of our control. We've got an abbreviated episode for you this week, with selected answers and excerpts for the majority of the stories that were on our docket. We appreciate you bearing with us through the technical difficulties we suffered this week, and we greatly, greatly appreciate all of our listeners who have listened to this show every week and listened to our other VoiceFirst.FM programming as well. We greatly appreciate you all. We will be back with a full episode of This Week In Voice next week. But for now, enjoy This Week In Voice.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:00:52] Thank you very much. With that, we will get to the news. So our first story this week is Facebook is building its own Echo Show competitor. This thing looks exactly like the Echo Show. It's the same form factor. And my question for the panel is not whether Facebook has the technical competence to build a smart speaker like this or if it has the resources to do it. We know that those things are true. The question is whether Facebook is a trusted enough company to succeed in selling such a product. And Brian, I'm going to start with you. What are your thoughts, and do you think that Facebook can be successful in doing what they're doing with this Echo Show competitor.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:01:35] Thank you Bradley. It's a really interesting question and there's a lot of elements to this so I'm going to focus in on what I think this is really about and why I think it's really important for Facebook and ultimately for its users. A lot of observers might see this as a knee-jerk reaction to what Amazon is doing and what Google is doing. And in some ways, that may be true but it isn't really in the grand scheme of things. I really believe that in the long arc, Facebook wants to be the company that brings actionable and useful AI into the home. And this is going to be the manifestation to do it. We're moving into a post-PC and post-mobile first world into a voice-first world. But what that really means is that we're going to be interacting with AI. Voice-first isn't in a vacuum. It's not voice-only. It's the modality that we're going to be using to interact with these new AI systems. And Facebook has been feverish in building around this from the Facebook app to the Jarvis Project. All across their entire platform.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:02:39] And I don't believe that we're going to be feverishly tapping our thumbs on screens to access this AI. It's going to manifest into what nature gave us in our voice, our ability to communicate. Highly evolved and very accurate in its use. So what I believe we're going to be seeing a 15-inch-screen, which you know is going to be more than just the screen is going to be what I would call artfully designed with a very high fidelity, very heavy magnet speaker. So it's also going to be streaming music and audio content. But it's going to allow you to have a glance into your Facebook world. A theme that Ahmed and I have been talking about since the beginning of This Week In Voice is it allows us to maybe get out of our devices and get more ambient. And this allows us to sort of maybe glance up and see what's going on in Facebook. Do I need to stop what I'm doing, switch modes and go into the app, or can I consume it at a distance. And I believe Facebook understands that maybe some, if not a majority, of Facebook consumption will wind up being this way, and it's going to be mediated by voice. It's going to be grandparents saying, "What are my grandkids doing today?" And Facebook's Jarvis, if you will, will surface up pictures and video and location data, what they had for lunch, all sorts of things. Obviously with permission and stuff that's already out there.

 

Brian Roemmele: But you're not feverishly digging and trying to find it. Or asking what news is important to you. Hopefully it's news that's useful and valuable. And I think that's the concept. So it's not so much competing with these devices, because my thesis is very clear on this from day one. We're going to own many voice-first devices, from our front doors to our appliances to our single-purpose voice-first systems to our mobile devices. All of them are going to ultimately be voice-first. And we're going to use them all, and it's going to be effortless in a sense because at some point, our context will connect across all devices. That's when it becomes purely magical. And that's going to be similar to what happened when AOL and Compuserve opened up to internet email, this sharing of contextual, permission-based, short-lived information across a multitude of devices. And I believe Facebook is probably going to lead that. It's going to have a developer economy. And I think no matter what matrix you use, in an arc of 10 years, it's going to be seen not only as successful, but it's going to be seen as the free arm and predominant way that we're going to be accessing Facebook in the future.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:05:27] My problem with Facebook is that it is...(unintelligible) About four months ago, for many reasons, I simply told all my friends that I'm purging them from my friends list, and I kept only my immediate family, and that basically took my usage of Facebook by 90 percent. I'm not on Facebook anymore. It was just polluting my life big time. Now, I think what Facebook is going after what are called ubiquitous addiction. They want you to be using Facebook at every moment of your life, which means....I'll give you a vision. Imagine you have a nice sleek flat surface on your kitchen wall. You have one in your bathroom that Facebook is selling. One in your bedroom, and so you can look at your newsfeed while cooking, while sitting in your favorite toilet seat, changing clothes while you're scrolling by saying scroll up and down. Say I want to watch that video. So that you are always looking at Facebook, you're living in the Facebook world constantly, and that worries me. Brian and I have talked about this many times. I have an instinct, or I have an aversion to say for technology, and the reason why I like the Echo is because it takes me away from being plugged into this artificial world, it is an artificial Facebook to some extent. Obviously, for example, having kept only my family who live in Algeria far away from me and my family in France, I'm able to to actually have real moments with them, interact with them and so forth. So it does not inherently antisocial, but it can easily be what it is designed to be. Addictive. You know if you read this book by Nir Eyal called Hooked...

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:07:27] Great book.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:07:28] They explain the mechanisms for getting people hooked now. Extending that so you're able to do Facebook in any use case. They didn't extend the use of Facebook. I think it is worrisome to a certain extent. But the bottom line really is, and I think this is the thing that we've said many times already, just drives the point home that we will all have to be willful and smart and conscious consumers of tech. Technology and AI are only going to get more and more powerful. Basically in this life. We have to watch out how to use it. We can....with the ability to connect with your friends and so forth, in all these cases, I think it's wonderful, but it just brings the point that we have to be careful not to be completely consumed by Facebook, because now we can do it at any moment, as opposed to being a lot more connected to each other.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:08:37] Our next story is a big report in The Rolling Stone. Very interesting. It's about how smart devices can violate your privacy. And at this point, anybody who's following this industry is used to seeing various pieces come out discussing privacy as it relates to smart speakers and so forth. But this one I thought was particularly well-written and circumspect. And so my question is....Ahmed, I'll start with you. Where are we at with privacy right now as it relates to voice technology? Amazon and the sales of the Echo and the Echo Dot seem to suggest that people are over it, but how did this article strike you, and where do you think we're at in the privacy debate as of today?

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:09:26] I think probably the wait is over. Basically I think the amount of data, personal, easily accessible, easily searchable data that we share with the world about ourselves with Facebook status updates and sharing and posting and liking and posting images of ourselves and it knows my face now and my friend's face now....that and worse. Whatever the Echo and other devices could either provide....definitely voice is a special thing for that. But you're talking about pure information. I think the information that's collected is not easily searchable. I added a Gmail, right? So I spent eight percent of my day sending e-mails with Gmail and sending files and so on. So that's in the cloud. That's a company that gave me terms and conditions that I didn't read, and I just said sure. And the second thing is...like the Android based phones have been doing the exact same thing as Google for a while now, meaning they're listening all the time, and have a wake-up word....and Google Dot and Google Home and Cortana coming up and all, then you should also throw those into the mix. Anyway, I don't know that this answers anything. It's just that I think it's a good thing to talk about privacy. I think if it takes because of the voice bias that we were forced to talk about, I think we should. And again, I go back to the main point, which is we're getting to a point which is when you start thinking seriously about what is the ecology doing to our lives and how is it creating risk for us. And we are way, way, naïve compared to where we need to be in terms of our thinking about what this welter of tech out there that we're already swimming in, and is about to grow even more.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:11:43] Turning to story number three, former Amazon and Microsoft employees have united to launch Roxy, which is a smart speaker aimed at business use. There's a very interesting quote in this article, which we've called out on the news page here. "We're obviously placing a bet here, but we don't believe that today's consumer facing speech enabled devices, namely Alexa, will ever be the best tool for the job." For businesses, that's a pretty provocative statement. And Adam, I'll start with you. Do you agree with that, and what do you think about this Roxi project.

 

Adam Marchick: [00:12:19] Yeah. Well first off, I 100% agree with that statement that Amazon might not be the best voice platform for Enterprise. That said, we have Microsoft and Google coming in with billions of dollars to invest in this project. And they have a very vested interest with Microsoft Office and Google and the G Suite to be good at enterprise applications. So I think there is a real opportunity for them to excel at meetings and enterprise verticals. I'm guessing it's going to be a tough slug for Roxi too, as an independent player with a few million in funding to compete with the billions of dollars being spent by the day platforms.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:13:10] As I said earlier, my thesis is that we’re going to be owning a number of voice systems throughout our lives, and certainly all at once. And I think each one of these systems will endear themselves to us in different ways, and it's not like we're committing to an operating system like the old modalities that we've had. Like I am an iOS person, or an Android person or a PC or a Mac. I think we're all done with that in this post-PC post-mobile world. We're going to be communicating on many different levels with many different devices. The unifying experiences are going to be interesting, so somebody can own that across a multitude of devices. And this is where it gets very interesting for startups or even legacy companies that are astute enough to realize that now building a system specifically for business is very interesting because I think that it is probably one of the most interesting elements of the voice-first revolution, how are businesses going to respond to business consumer interactions, and what are those platforms going to look like, and what are the freedoms of expression that somebody can have within the software of those platforms. The biggest issue is controlling destiny. I'll give you an example, if I was McDonald's and I fully believed and was indoctrinated into the voice-first future, what would it look like for the McDonald's brand to live inside of a McDonald's device or inside of another device? Now this is a short thought experiment, but it really kind of brings this idea home that a merchant is dominating this market already. That merchant is called Amazon, and we constantly have this play between tech companies create tech products.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:15:02] The reality is the voice-first revolution was developed and deployed by a merchant. It just happens to understand and use tech. And that's no accident. So first off, I love Betaworks, and I love the folks there. They're doing incredible work. And they went through a very deep process to evaluate. And I got to know Roxi through what Betaworks did by surfacing them. And I really believe that not only the founders are onto something, I believe the founders are humble enough to realize that they don't need to have to have a winner-take-all mentality, that if they can segment use cases where this becomes immensely valuable. If I was along, I would show some vertical use cases where it's absolutely needed. I can name some of them. Hospitality and medical are really the lowest hanging fruit on the tree. I know exactly how to engineer that. There are places....I'll give you an example. HIPA, the health compliancy act. HIPA compliancy is not available on any the open market voice for systems. Medical use cases, as you know Bradley, are going to become immensely important. These systems need to find ways to solve HIPA compliances. I believe entrepreneurs may get there before larger companies. So I think proxy is a possibility if they look at some of these vertical cases.

 

Adam Marchick: [00:16:20] You brought up a great point. You brought up the hospitality example. That's nice. I think that the medical-in-hospital with prescriptions, with doctors, HIPA....that is where it's real enterprise grade and there is so much specialization, I think Roxi has a real opportunity and I am excited for them to kind of push the boundaries and do it without waiting for the general purpose platform to give them what they need to be effective.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:16:54] Adam, that is it right there. That is the bold entrepreneur. That is what we love about startups. They're not asking for permission. They're going out there. They're claiming the territory. And if they go into some of these verticals....I've identified about 370 SIC verticals where voice really needs to segment. And medical could support a trillion-dollar industry right there.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:17:17] Yeah. I'll just add that I think the article says that the market is crowded. I think that's an overstatement. I think it is crowded with devices from the big ones, but the big ones are consumer-focused. And I think they don't know how to deliver voice-first to businesses. And I think anyone who specializes in....you could have a great business just focusing on devices for a hotel and build the best possible device for the hotel use case, or for the office use case, and go deep. A lot deeper down that what any of these big giants can go into. And so I think they definitely have. I think they will need to have a lot of financing because they need hardware and then to be able to scale it. I think for sure they will define use cases out of value there. So I am very much cheering for them. I think there will be one amongst many. I think it shows the business side of the market focusing on business use cases. It's very smart. And I think it will be good for other companies to do the same. Somebody wants to get into the hardware/business use case. I think there's plenty of opportunity out there. It just takes leadership and the desire to go and conquer.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:18:50] Story number four. "Bringing out the big guns." Apple partnered this week with Dwayne Johnson, "The Rock", to produce a very interesting and actually very entertaining short film promoting Siri usage. I thought it was great. Adam, what do you think?

 

Adam Marchick: [00:19:04] First off, the ad was entertaining and it's great to see Apple put Siri front and center again. It's been a few years since Siri was really the focal point, and it looks like they have caught the wave that Alexa and Assistant are here to stay, and it's time for them to invest in voice-first and voice-capable devices. What was fascinating about it is you looked at all the things the Rock did, only one time did he ask for a third party service. I think that was getting a Lyft Rideshare. And so it speaks to how many third party developers are on Siri right now and have built new capabilities for Siri. And it's still very, very few. And so we're going to find out if Apple wants to try and do it all themselves, or if they're going to support a robust ecosystem of third party developers to help them innovate. I think Amazon has taken a full force approach to get 15,000 third party developers to help them with their platform. We're going to find out if Apple's going to take a closed or open approach. I think it will have huge implications on its long-term success or failure.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:20:16] Turning to story number five Harvard Business Review published an article this week discussing that AI may soon replace even the most elite consultants. This is a pretty fascinating piece that HBR put together. What did you take away?

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:20:32] Well this touches on a topic that's near and dear to my heart, which is the impact of automation on society, and it has been ongoing for a long time now. What we have seen is a high increase in productivity. People are producing a lot more for the dollars they're given. And so I think that this issue of automation has been ignored. Because people who have been hurt are not people who are looking for money and who can organize and all that and so forth. I think just like....if you guys remember the affliction of crack cocaine. We ignored that until now we have an affliction that is that is attacking the middle class with this drug thing.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:21:31] The opioid crisis.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:21:32] Yeah exactly. Opiate crisis. Same thing with AIDS. For a whole decade it was forgotten until about the middle class was hit. Then there was the famous case of a teenager from Ohio. His name Ryan Wayne White. He became a national poster child for HIV and AIDS because he was not allowed to go back to school because of his diagnosis. That was just the turning point. All of a sudden, it became a crisis. Because it hit the mainstream. And was not hitting the fringes. So right now I think automation, which has been hitting in a real way the lower classes, and the lower middle classes, people who who are losing jobs, good jobs, cashier jobs, jobs that are waypoints towards a better job, where you get trained to not to work jobs....like we're going to lose drivers with the driverless car and we've been happily going forward thinking that it's all good. It's OK because we're not being hit by it.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: I'm very glad, to be honest with you, that the educated and elite are going to be hurt by this. That is going to force it. It's going to force the issue to talk about it, and we're going to talk about how are we going to have concepts like, are human beings are not fungible? That's what we are going to say. Before that, the big issue didn't exist. We're going to hear about how we need to be smart about automation all of a sudden, because people who have are articulate, and well connected, and have more money and all that are not going to create a movement and we're going to treat this issue. So I think I'm glad that automation is finally hitting lawyers and hopefully software engineers, people who have taken it for granted will not be insulated from the impact of automation. And I think in then we'll see some traction. That traction is going to help people across the world will deal with this with this affliction just like we did with the previous inflictions once we decided that it was something we had to deal with.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:23:47] So we will move on to story number six, which is a roundup of various Google news. First of all, Voicebot.AI reported this week that GE appliances are getting Google integration with Google Assistant which is pretty major. And then also, the CEO of Google discussed this week ramping up both marketing expenditure and headcount in support of Google's voice-first approach. So Brian, my question to you is, is what Google is doing enough, and in general, where do you think Google ranks relative to Amazon. The perception is that Google is maybe slightly behind Amazon. But maybe that's not the truth. How do you view Google in this marketplace?

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:24:34] Well, this is a really complex question, but I can probably distill it down to a couple of elements. In some ways, this was Google's market to lose, and they were really late to the manifestation of voice-first into a device. And that came about because of cultural differences between how the company views hardware versus a merchant, which was Amazon, and how they viewed hardware. It also comes down to the fundamental principles within each company. And I'm at....and I can't stress this enough about this whole litany of things that need to be solved to build ecosystems. But I guess the "day one" for all of this, to use an Amazon term, is privacy. There's no other way to get around this. If we're going to be building AI that is going to be wrapping itself around the human existence, we have to think about how this AI is going to impact our life. And we have to think about how privacy exists in this world. And it's not "Hey! Hey! You didn't read the one-click 9,000 pages that you clicked through to agree." We have to be in front of that. It's beyond "do no evil". I think it's leading with "do good". And that means that we're looking out for the user of this system. And we always loop around this whole idea that we have this microphone in our home that's listening to us 24/7. We really need to pay attention to what that means to human beings. How do we make that person comfortable with that notion? How do we tell them very clearly that microphone right now is recording them? It's transmitting that to a server somewhere.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:26:24] I think all of those points have to be clearly demarked, because if we don't do it voluntarily, it will be forced in a way that will be regulated and probably not in the best sense. So I think Google can really raise itself up to this level. So that's the the basis of this. The next level is the developer ecosystem. Google has so many benefits, and Ahmed can attest to this, and they're playing to those benefits. But there's some aspects they are not playing to, and that's reaching out to a wider group of developers that are not necessarily coders. I believe as we have tools....a company called Kitt.AI....I got to know the founders really well, and they're up in Washington and actually ironically got a an investment from the Alexa Fund. They ultimately got acquired by a company. I'm trying to remember now. One of the Chinese mobile companies. And it's a heartbreak to me, because what Kitt made was a graphical programming interface to voice-first development across a multitude of platforms. This is a powerful thing, because what Kitt was able to do was pull in people that were more creative, but not necessarily technical coders, into creating incredible solutions and use cases. And we're just getting to market on some of these things. I was very privileged to see what this development was like, and then it got snapped up. And I think Google would do well into reaching out much further into an ecosystem. And Ahmed does so much work in trying to increase the development in these platforms and making these tools simpler and more available and affordable to some people. Because some investments on this is is going to get quite complex as we start trying to monetize and then there's cloud costs and database hits. You can't make those things work without monetization, and that's the other thing. Google can lead in monetization. It's not going to be an App Store and again it's going to be an ongoing theme...

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:28:42] I wanted to ask you, it just occurred to me....I think we talked about it earlier. I'm curious to get your thoughts on it. So we're talking about how we started with the cloud back in December. The reason why we were where we were in the cloud before because it was way too expensive to build hardware for the millions, right? And then we had hardware for millions and then it became way too expensive to have powerful software in the PC. And also we want it to be able to access software from anywhere. From wherever you are, you want to access your Salesforce.com and so forth. When the cloud was invented....do you think that the next iteration is going to go back away from the cloud or maybe something where data is not in the cloud. Logic is in the cloud, but data is local to you, and nobody has access to it other than you. You're giving permission to whoever you want to give permission to. So then you can have your cake and eat it too, in a way. You can have powerful brains up there, but you have your data that you prize, that you allow certain people that you trust to get, and get only what they want. I think we talked about this probably a couple of times, but I wanted to just get the audience to benefit from your thoughts.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:30:16] It’s so brilliant the way you put that, because that is the hybrid that I've been dreaming about for a better part of the decade. I see the pendulum swinging to the cloud, and we always remember the things of how we got there. And so we're very cloud-centric, and we think that that's going to go on forever. But I really believe that there is already a momentum going in the other direction. And so I believe that the only way that this is ultimately going to work out for humanity. And I don't want to make it sound overly dramatic. But once you give 100 percent of your contacts to this system, the only way you could ever possibly want your mom, your daughter, your son, or your grandchildren, everybody on it, is that there are material protections to those images, the video, the audio, all those snippets. And it's going to require a rethinking about the structures of these companies. The way they monetize themselves. We already know that the pay-per-click modality is over in a voice-first world. And bidding on the best result is not the best thing for the person using that system, because in a competitive world somebody is going to say, "Listen, I'm just going to give you the best result, and ain't nobody bidding on that." And sooner or later, the marketplace will win. And so getting back to the fundamental question. Yes. I believe the context that you create, and that's what I generally put under that bucket of context. Has to be local. Has to be encrypted. And it can't be online 24/7. It has to be online situationally. It slips out under the door only for a specific purpose, and then it's deleted. And that gives people security. Now how that manifests, that's for us. Everybody listening to us, to invent. This is not just a legacy company proposition. This is potentially a startup proposition.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:32:12] In fact, I think it's so big, it's going to create maybe three or four Google-sized companies to make these things happen. It's a mixture of hardware, software, and human engineering, in a sense, of how we think about these devices. But getting on to the greater thing about the Google environment. Google has some of the most incredible voice leaders. You had one of them on there, and I am absolutely in awe of her talent. And Nandini Stocker is....I really think it's people with these types of talent, they're going to be leading these revolutions. I put out a tweet that I think some people may have gotten wrong. And I said it because I think it needs to be said that a lot of the revolution is going be led by females. And I think it has to do with one primary reason, is that I think instinctively and genetically, women get conversation and dialogue to a much greater degree, for so many genetic reasons and so many ancestral reasons, that I see them instinctively getting the direction of how voice is going to go, and how this is going to be dialogues with machines and other humans, and how it's going to wrap into our life. And it was funny, because about five and a half years ago, I was talking about some of my greater ideas about how personal assistants were going to operate. And it took a perspective of a woman to say there's so many elements of privacy that I feel uncertain about....as somebody who is really into tech, I really feel uncertain about. And I don't know if I want to give myself over to that technology that much, unless something else is being given back to me as security. And not a false security. "Hey, you have a 900-digit password." A true security can be manifested locally.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:34:08] And it's good that Facebook is going back to what we were talking about earlier. Facebook will take our personal information and give us back in return ads. (all laugh).

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:34:23] Our house will become a mini Times Square.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:34:31] A mini Times Square where you have nothing but these screens. And frankly, everybody listening to us is not what we really want, including the people that are monetizing these platforms. I hope that some of the leaders out there are listening. Is that the world you really want? Because we're inventing a new modality. And if we were to reinvent the web again, I think we would fix a lot of mistakes. I've been listening to Marc Andreessen a lot, and he's come full circle on what he would have done with the browser if he would have had that chance to live it again. We're at that moment right now, and I can't stress it enough, and that's why Ahmed and I have discussions that went on for hours talking about this stuff. We can shape this in a way that is going to be really helping humanity. And it's not some "Golly gee, let's help humanity." It's if technology does not help humanity, it is not technology. It is something else. You can name it whatever you want, but it is not technology. Technology is here to amplify and assist humanity not to replace it. And we can get all sci-fi about AI. It ain't happening. We don't even know what human intelligence is. And I have yet to find anybody who can show me where the mind is. They can show me where the brain is, but I can show you scientifically you cannot prove where the mind is. And this is not being metaphysical. It's a fact.

 

Brian Roemmlele: [00:35:50] If you can't identify human intelligence clearly, then you would never identify artificial human intelligence. You will create some form of intelligence. It won't be human. It may coexist with humanity. But ultimately, we're going to be interacting with it. And we need to create these ground rules. And I don't think Ahmed can be skeptical enough. And he comes off as skeptical to some folks. I think it's purity of trying to see where this is taking us. And Bradley, you're right. If Facebook were just simply to take that feed and define all these situational ads to stick on the screen, they've not moved the meter one iota. And I think in the marketplace of ideas, they're going to fail. If in fact that's what they do, and Google, Apple, Amazon ultimately will fail if that's as far as they get. And you want to know something? Some startup founder, maybe they're 12 years old, maybe they're 17 is going to hear this message and say, "I'm the next Steve Jobs. I'm going to do this the right way." And all these other folks got mired into their old modalities of advertising units. They didn't see what the real future was like. And I think some of us are already trying to champion that in our own little way. But it's got to start with privacy. It's got to start with human integrity and that's ingenuity. It takes ingenuity and creativity.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:37:18] That's great.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:37:18] The only thing I want to add to that, because I think this is fascinating, is I've seen some very well-meaning folks there, and I've been in conversations with them who are saying that that the companies should adopt some norms of behavior that are ethically sound. And that following those norms and setting borders and saying, "We are not going to do X, Y, and Z because it is not good for society." I think that is not the way to go about this. I think that like everything else, there is a market. There are people who want to make money. And I think what's going to happen is if it crystallizes in people's minds that there is a problem called privacy....and if Vendor A solves that problem for me and B does not solve that problem for me, and they both provide the same value, and privacy is important for me, I'm going to buy from Vendor A. It is monetizeable. All these problems are monetizeable. Somebody can create a company that touches that goes to our values. I mean the value of privacy and the value of being able to live a healthy life, for example, building technology that is not addictive.

 

Ahmed Bouzid: [00:38:35] So an example might be there is a consortium or a company that rates applications and technologies and said This is an addictive technology to the X degree. And so a person who cares about making sure that their kid does not get it, and I think we talked about this before, will be able to make a decision whether they should buy A or B, because A is not as addictive as B. I think that we should not be expecting that there is a vanguard that will be looking out for humanity in establishing axioms of conduct that say we should behave this way and that way, and let's not do this and that. Because our imperatives for business to make money and to be profitable is just going to be the logic of the market. And as long as the market is free to do what they need to do, and they don't have giants who are keeping them from being as creative as they can be to serve and deliver value, I think all these problems will be solved.

 

Bradley Metrock: [00:39:39] We didn't make it to the story about Samsung's Airpod competitor, and we also didn't make it to discussing VoiceFirst.FM's newest sponsor for This Week in Voice as well as the VoiceFirst Roundtable, which is VoiceXP. Fascinating company. We look forward to talking about them next week with a full press release, and sharing with you about our partnership to deliver great content. For all of us at This Week in Voice. Thank you again for listening. And until next time.

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