In 2008, a company caught my attention by receiving more than $8.5 million to set up a virtual assistant. I did not pay too much attention at that time, as it seemed more like fiction from The Jetsons than reality. In 2009, that virtual assistant received a second infusion of funding: $15.5 million from Li Ka-sshing—one of the wealthiest people on the planet—and it was announced soon after that the assistant would be available on both BlackBerry and Android.
It was getting serious.
Surprisingly, in early 2010, Apple bought this company and frustrated its competitors. “Find me a good Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” Scott Forstall said out loud during the launch presentation of the iPhone 4S. When Siri’s response came, the smile on his face could not be missed, and, to me, that was the birth of a new era.
Siri, Google, Cortana, BlackBerry Assistant, Braina, Alexa, Bixby, and a dozen other virtual assistants can access online information such as weather, stock prices, traffic conditions, and news, presenting it in a clear, concise, and interesting way. They even take into consideration the user’s GPS location and machine learning history.
My meaningful media is no longer made up of spots, banners, pre-rolls, or influencers; it is made of solutions generated by Big Data, taking into account my interests, habits, and moments. More than from a medium that wants to sell to me, the future for me comes from a medium that understands my needs, humor, and what I want to buy—even if I haven’t realized it yet.
Welcome to the age of robots.