Feature Story

Digital home assistants: The AI butler you've always dreamed of

by Stephanie Chan

Digital home assistants

Amazon and Google's home assistant devices are becoming more clever—what other sentient tools may take on the market?

Alexa and Google Assistant have infiltrated homes—these handy home-helpers do everything from acting as your personal DJ to a language translator or a talking encyclopedia. But if you're looking for something a little more interactive, and with just a slight dash of Snow White-esque magic, look no further than new AI assistant Duo.

This device looks like a mirror, but is actually a system complete with a touchscreen and voice command capabilities—think home assistant meets Cisco SparkBoard. Mashable reports that Duo is 27 inches wide and 1.9 millimeters thick, has an HD 1080p display and weighs just 8 pounds.

Marketed as an AI butler, Designboom writes that the Duo mirror can play music, check the news, become an in-home art gallery, all as you swipe through it like a hanging tablet.

The wave of home assistants has become so prevalent, tech companies are thinking up new features to add into their systems.

MIT Technology Review reports that Amazon opened up a development kit for developers to add apps to these home devices. Amazon's Echo now has more than 8,000 apps available for users to procure.

Futurist Brian David Johnson predicts that sentient tools—or computational, sensing, and communications tech—will become the next step in every industry. Sentient tools like digital home assistants are designed to complete specific virtual tasks that, while complex, won't replace the need for humans.

With the ability to juggle situational and social awareness, intelligence, and communication, sentient tools can become our greatest helpers.

Maybe one day you can also find a digital assistant to tell you you're the fairest one of them all. One day.