They’re quickly becoming a mainstay in our homes thanks to their easy-to-use technology. Through simple voice commands, we can ask them to play music, read the news, control our electronic devices, check our bank balance and carry out other tasks.

Voice assistants have become so popular since their emergence in 2014 that many of us now consider them part of the family. They use artificial intelligence (AI) to make our day-to-day easier and go a long way towards improving the lives of persons with disabilities.

What is a voice assistant?

It's software that carries out everyday tasks via voice command. It’s brings AI and machine learning together to recognize our voice and do what we ask it.

Voice assistant software can be found on smart speakers, smartwatches, mobile phones, tablets and other devices. The most well-known are Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Google Assistant (Google) and Bixby (Samsung), which are taking over our homes thanks to their compatibility with washing machines, light bulbs, ovens, air conditioning units, etc.


Having these assistants at home can be a great help to:

  • stay in the know: We can get all kinds of information found on the Internet, as well as asking about the weather, latest news, traffic and others.
  • listen to music: We can ask them to play the music that suits our mood at any given time. 
  • control other devices: We can tell them to connect to other smart appliances and follow commands like “switch on the television”. 
  • check our bank balance: Some banks let us access our accounts through them to ask about our balance and transactions, and even request products like cards. 
  • stick to a schedule: It’s an easy way to organize our time without needing a mobile, watch or diary.
  • help persons with disabilities: Their voice search function makes things easier for the visually-impaired, elderly and dependant persons.
  • enhance security: We can connect our home’s security cameras to them and watch a live feed on our devices anytime, anywhere.


Though they make our lives easier, voice assistants do have a few downsides:

  • Less privacy: They function continuously, so are always listening to what we say, which could be recorded.
  • Access to personal data: For them to work, we have to give them access to our email accounts, contact lists, etc.
  • Familiarity with our habits: They pick up on a lot more than what we say and request. They might also extract data from devices that are connected to them and gather information on what time we arrive home and other routines.
  • Identity theft: Though we configure them to only recognize our voice, there is a risk that hackers can infiltrate them to get hold of our personal data.

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