While we were busy with social media, it seems many were hard at work building the foundations for a new future where we may, after all, have those flying cars we were promised.
Igor Ramos, Senior Software Engineer at IBM, has built a new striking machine that shows just how far technology has come and how real sci-fi has become. Using IoT technology to connect a candy dispenser to the internet in combination with blockchain technology for record keeping and verification, the candy dispenser is given knowledge which, when combined with human voice, makes the experience awe inspiring and emotional. Ramos states:
“Towards the end of the Fair there was a girl in her twenties who approached the booth to know what it was all about. She didn’t want sweets, she just wanted to chat. When Candy learned the girl didn’t like sweets, Candy expressed her feelings. “You don’t like candy… so you don’t like me? You make me feel sad, I think I’m going to cry.” Interestingly the girl ended up apologizing for not liking candy and they became friends.”
Users can complete a form online and receive a ChainCheck number, a digital currency created by Ramos for the blockchain interaction. You can then ask the dispenser to give you a candy and state your number. The dispenser automatically checks records and releases your candy.
This is of course just a playful demo to show the current capabilities of technology, especially the advances in speech recognition and interaction. Combined with IoT and blockchain tech, we can imagine many potential uses. Ramos states:
“Although it sounds like science fiction, it isn’t, it’s real and here and available to developers, across any industry. As a result, we can all start to explore and consider using this new UI alternative when designing solutions that require, or benefit from these sorts of “intelligent conversations” that create seamless interactions.”
The combined advances in a number of technologies – sensors, wireless connections, data analytics, smart contracts, verbal expressions, blockchain tech and other fields – may allow us for the first time to give machines a highly primitive level of intelligence.
And it is very primitive. We’re not going to have a discussion about politics with a candy dispenser anytime soon. Interactions would probably be limited to business like operational commands, but instead of using keywords we can give them in natural language.
The combination of all these technologies, however, does suggest we are about to enter a new era where much of the future may become more of today.