New apps use messaging in place of screens as the user interface.
In the original Star Trek, Captain Kirk didn’t need a screen to use the computer on the Enterprise. Instead, he would simply start speaking with the word “computer,” and the ship’s computer would respond in a way that simulated human conversation.
Now some tech observers say that advances in artificial intelligence, coupled with the growing use of messaging, could soon reflect this sort of human-machine interaction, according to TechCrunch. The combination, they say, could result in technologies that no longer require the kind of user interfaces using screens that we are accustomed to using with most of our devices today.
Messaging, primarily through SMS systems, is already used by at least 4 billion people worldwide, far more even than the number of Facebook users. Messaging apps like WhatsApp or WeChat are now worth billions of dollars.
It turns out that, while we are far from robots that can successfully mimic human behavior, machines are already capable of mirroring human interactions via messaging. Artificial intelligence-powered apps are being developed that can see, hear, and understand humans better than ever.
With messaging serving as the user interface, the buttons, menus and labels needed in screen-based design become unnecessary. This has led to the rapid popularity of “invisible” or conversational apps that use messaging as the interface.
Such apps will likely not be useful for every interaction with computers, meaning that screen will still be around for many tasks. But observers believe that the increasing use by designers of new forms of user interfaces will be game-changing for how we interact with and use our devices.
Some suspect the next phase in design will move beyond even messaging, to apps that make use of a direct brain-computer interface, with digital telepathy allowing communication with computers without the need for screens.