Many Brits suffer from Nomophobia, which is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. A whopping 38.7% of us would feel most anxious if we left the house without our mobile phone, compared with 23.6% for wallet and 37.6% for keys. Not that it matters. Thanks to Apple Pay and Android Pay, you really can leave your wallet at home and still spend to your heart’s content. You can even get ‘smart’ locks for your front door that use your phone to grant you access.
This year, our smartphones are getting smarter than ever before. If you have an iPhone, soon you’ll be able to say: “Hey Siri, book me two tickets to Bridget Jones Baby on Wednesday night at the nearest Cinema,” (that is, if Odeon or your local cinema chain enable this functionality). Besides the cinema, you’ll be able to use your voice to book restaurants, taxis, send money to a friend and more.
Alternatively, you could be chatting via Apple iMessage to your other half, wondering what to have for dinner later that evening. Rather than open the Just Eat, Deliveroo or Hungry House app you’ll be able to choose your food and order it all, within the message stream.
Apps have made it much easier for us to complete tasks – from the very simple, such as getting from A to B, to the very complex like booking a holiday. People who have an Android phone are also able to do similar tasks – where they can use the Siri alternative, Google Now. This year, it’s all changing. Apps will still be there, but they will take more of a backseat role.
All of this is because artificial intelligence is coming to our phones this year. Welcome to the new era of the ‘bot’.
If you use Facebook Messenger, you will be able to ‘interact’ with a ‘bot’ to answer questions or take actions on your behalf. For example, it may message you and say, “It’s your wife’s birthday soon, would you like me to order flowers?” You can reply with a simple Yes or No, but you could also say, “Yes, but can you show me some options?” and it will come back with options.
All of this is designed to help keep you in the same place. Rather than downloading and jumping around in different apps, you will soon be able to do many tasks from within a popular chat app such as Facebook Messenger or Apple’s iMessage, directly with Google Maps or Apple Maps, or by asking your phone to do a task.
This is meant to make it easier for us to use our phones and to put a bit more ‘smart’ in smartphones. Ultimately, companies like Apple and Google want us to use technology in a smarter way. They want technology to be so good, we can do more, but spend less time using it and it seems as if the new wave of ‘bots’ may be the perfect way to help them achieve this vision.