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Wendy Chin is a Corporate Learning Hub Faculty Member and Tech Up For Women Advisory Board Member.

Wendy’s View – The Technology Enabled Future

Virtual Assistants

If you have the opportunity to look into future, what do you think you will see or what would you want to see?  Now that iPhone has officially turned 10 years old, most people look back at how the society has changed and what the impact iPhone and related technologies have had on us – humanoids.  I want to look forward and see what the world will look like in the future with all the technologies enabling and changing our daily lives.

Let’s talk about virtual assistants – siri, Alexa, Cortana, Ezzie (My own creation), Amy, and whole hosts of others.  Right now people find it entertaining and useful to interact, especially at home to help with small tasks.  Some people even find it nice as a virtual companion, someone to talk back to you and at you if you want.  In fact, Siri can even tell you a joke or two! Now, imagine a 3D projection of your virtual assistant which you create to interact with you.   You decide what she (or he) would look like and sound like, and when you need her – just call her name and she’ll be there.  How about someone who looks like Neo of ‘Matrix’ (my ideal virtual friend, heck I’d love to meet Keanu Reeves ☺ ) or your favorite celebrity?  She will appear on the screen of any device that is closest to you, or project as a 3D hologram right next to you.  You can carry a conversation with her about anything and everything; and she will be the most non-judgmental companion you’ll ever have.  Is this possible?  Of course, it exists today in bits and pieces.  I remember when I first saw the trailer of this movie ‘Simone’ with Al Pacino in 2003, I thought, OMG, we will have a virtual friend soon…I wonder with a good virtual friend(s), would people still feel lonely, would we even bother to make efforts to have real friends, and how that would change our society at large?   I would love to hear what you think how this technology would change our world.    

Now if we take it one step further, not only you now have a ‘rea’ virtual assistant (let’s call her Simone), instead of only a voice like Alexa;  you can jump into the Internet with Simone and roam around the virtual world that is either created by you or  by a network of people – a virtual society.  Think Matrix except you know you are in the Matrix.   In this world, you can choose how you represent yourself – what you look like, sound like, what you want to be, nothing is impossible; try on cloths; test drive cars; jumping out of an airplane (or anything you don’t dare to do in real life); or just hanging out with friends, real or virtual; all in the comfort of your own home.  Companies will start creating new worlds or new experiences for people to try in their virtual environments so ‘the virtual experience apps’ will be the next big development area following all these mobile apps.  And all the advertising dollars will follow into your virtual worlds.   It’s possible in this scenario that people really get confused between reality and virtual realities… Are we ready for it?  The fact is, it’s coming whether we like it or not!  We will talk about potential problems that we have to deal when we have multiple worlds to experience in the next blog.  Problems such as identify theft, social interactions & rules of engagement in the virtual world, and are we just living in our minds…

Please tell me what you think and if you have interesting topics that you would like to share.  Contact us at

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