Entertainment has already been transformed by tech advances that seem custom made to blow our minds.
Whether it's amazing graphics that transport us to incredible new worlds or interactive 3-D games that feel like real life, entertainment is evolving into a more personalized, immersive experience, and the key to this engaging entertainment future is artificial intelligence.
At its most simple, AI is technology that can operate and think for itself without traditional human intervention. If you have an iPhone, Siri is a great example. Without lifting a finger, you can ask Apple's digital assistant to find things for you, take a note or call your mom.
Similarly, Alexa by Amazon can play your favorite song or start the coffee pot for you — and all you have to do is ask. The longer you work with these platforms, the better they get at anticipating your preferences.
Visionary entertainment executives are trying to find ways to deliver content in a way that is more interactive, personalized and engaging; and AI is one of the most exciting ways to make this happen. The same type of technology that makes it possible for Siri to find the nearest gas station while you focus on driving could also help you program your DVR without the need to battle with your universal remote.
To get a better idea of how AI might influence the future of entertainment, here are three ways AI is poised to transform the user experience:
AI allows users to interact with their entertainment systems through voice-activated tools and apps. Voice control is the centerpiece of smart-home hubs like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and it makes it possible for us to interact with the digital assistants the same way we might ask our significant other to change the channel or turn down the volume.
At the forefront of this trend are Amazon and DISH. DISH is working with Amazon to give its new line of Hopper DVRs voice control through integration with Alexa. The Hopper 3 is already one of the more advanced DVRs on the market, and it can transform nearly any television into a smart TV.
The addition of Alexa will allow the Hopper line to perform all basic navigation functions through voice control. That means that you might be able to find your favorite genre, show or actor just by asking.
After voice control, the next big thing in AI entertainment is machine learning. This term refers to algorithms that allow devices like Alexa to gather data about your habits and preferences in order to predict what other shows or movies you might like.
If you use Amazon Prime Video or Netflix, you've probably already seen this technology at work when you receive recommendations based on what you've recently viewed.
This facet of AI doesn't stop at recommendations, though. Machine learning can also customize everything from the commercials you see to the type of movie trailers you are most likely to respond to. It may also be able to track how your tastes and preferences evolve over time, helping it quickly adapt to drop all those crime procedural suggestions after you start spending more time rewatching old "Friends" episodes.
The world of gaming is where AI really shines by engaging the user in an immersive experience. Character-based, interactive stories that respond to the player's actions and learn their decision-making process help transport gamers into the action. This aspect of entertainment could be where virtual reality and AI join forces to offer us a vacation to Paris from the comfort of our living room sofa.
AI interactivity isn't just at work in games, either. Big names like Apple and Netflix have both indicated that they're looking to introduce more interactive content. Apple's implementation looks like it will focus on providing information about what's on screen, while Netflix's experiments are reportedly centered more on children's programming.
Whether you're ready for it or not, the future (and artificial intelligence) is here. Keep your eyes peeled for new developments in interactive entertainment, and if it makes you feel nervous, just remember that when voice control takes over, you'll never have to deal with that complicated universal remote again.
What sounds most exciting to you about AI's new integrations with entertainment? Comment below.