AI is the New UI: A Game-Changer for Information Systems
From the imaginative realms of science fiction where verbal dialogue with computers was the norm, reality initially took a different turn. Visionaries like Arthur C. Clarke making “HAL” in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Gene Rodenberry’s “Computer” in Star Trek portrayed a future where voice-interactive machines were commonplace. Characters casually conversed with their computers—making complex calculations, controlling spacecraft, or even engaging in philosophical debates. These tales set expectations for a world where our voice would be the primary means of human-digital interaction. However, as the era of personal computers dawned in the 80s and 90s, the tangible reality involved more manual input devices like keyboards and mice, steering us away from the vocal engagement idealized in these futuristic narratives.
One significant barrier hindering this voice interaction evolution was that computers and information systems have a “do what I say” interface, while people have a “do what I mean” interface. But with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), the horizon is changing rapidly. AI is ushering in an era where it’s no longer a “do what I say,” but an “understand what I mean in my context.”
At InfoComm 2023, the power of AI as the new user interface (UI) was vividly demonstrated. Over three days, more than 1,000 people had the opportunity to ask an AI avatar any question they wanted. For many the interaction wasn’t just simple Q&A. People were engaging in extended dialogues, getting satisfactory responses, then delving deeper with follow-up questions in very specific knowledge areas. Participants found themselves engaging in full-blown conversations with the AI, seemingly forgetting they were interacting with a device, not a human, frequently referring to the avatar by pronouns he or she “…got that right!”
This is the beauty of an AI UI. Modern, large language neural networks understand not just words but context, intent, and meaning. An AI model can hold a conversation, maintain context over a string of related questions, and provide meaningful, informed answers. Case in point—OpenAI’s GTP AI. It’s not new and has been free and widely available for several years to anyone that wanted to set up a computer to run it. It only gained explosive popularity when OpenAI put a common UI on it, namely a web-based “Chat” interface. Then 100M users in three months, BAM!
This new paradigm of interaction will undoubtedly revolutionize public information systems. Imagine asking a public transport AI about the best route to a destination, then following up with real-time traffic conditions, nearby points of interest, or even adjusting your journey based on weather conditions—all in one seamless conversation.
Not only does this offer unprecedented convenience, but it also opens new possibilities for people who struggle with traditional interfaces. Since responses can be both on-screen text and audio through the voice, it meets the needs of both sight and hearing impaired. It brings us one step closer to realizing the science-fiction dream of intuitive, human-like interaction with our digital systems.
AI, as the new UI, is indeed a game-changer. It bridges the gap between human intention and digital understanding, making our digital devices, our screens, our public information systems not just tools, but responsive, engaging interactions that we always knew they could be. The future of interaction with digital systems is here, and it’s spelled A-I.
Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Appreciation Day, which is held annually on July 16. Click here to read more AI Day stories from LAVNCH [CODE] and click here to read more AI Day stories from rAVe [PUBS].
About the Author: David Defelici is a dynamic business development, corporate development, technology, marketing, and new media executive with focus and demonstrated success in rapid multi-million-dollar market creation for new media products and services at the leading edge of technology. Defelici founded SmartMatter AI in 2023 to redefine communication in public spaces. SmartMatter is a pioneering company delivering an innovative AI Avatar Service for interactive kiosks and digital signage. Defelici’s in-depth knowledge of production, distribution, and syndication of digital media in Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) market allows for a broad expertise in the industry.