The more diverse capabilities of smart devices such as smartphones, PCs, home appliances and IoT devices become, the more complicated their interfaces are. User interface designers have to put many efforts to squeeze many functions into a small screen or bury them deeper in layers of menu trees. It can be rather complicated to learn a new device, which significantly limits the current human-to-machine interface.
Since Samsung makes millions of devices, it has incentives to solve the problem of complicated interface. The company has a conceptually new philosophy to the issue: instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us.
Samsung strives to make the interface natural and intuitive so that it would be easy-to-understand regardless of the number of functions being added.
Samsung has announced the result of its efforts. Let us introduce Bixby, a new intelligent interface that is fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market.
Bixby offers a deeper experience thanks to proficiency in these three properties:
Bixby will be able to support almost every task that the Bixby-enabled application can perform using the conventional interface while most modern agents support only a few selected tasks so that users can’t understand what works or what doesn’t work by voice command. Bixby is very simple to learn as its completeness makes the behavior of the agent much more predictable.
Users can be assured that Bixby will understand the current context and state of the application whenever they call upon it. They can feel free to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application. Most existing agents impose the interaction modality and can lose all the work in progress or simply not understand the user’s intention when switching between modes.
Traditionally, users needed to remember commands in the exact set of fixed forms, which can be rather challenging. Bixby will be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge, and then will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal.
“Bixby is at the heart of our software and services evolution as a company. We are fundamentally and conceptually changing our attitude toward software and services and working hard on innovation throughout all aspects of our mobile ecosystem. Our investment in engineering resources speaks for itself – we have thousands of software developers supporting this effort”, Samsung says. “This is something that I’m very excited about. Innovating in software and services enables opportunities for creativity and the ability to build new experiences from the ground up. With the continued investment from Samsung on artificial intelligence, the possibility of what Bixby can become is endless.”
It is known that new Samsung Galaxy S8, that will be released on March 29, will have a subset of preinstalled Bixby-enabled applications. Starting with smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all Samsung appliances. The company is planning to develop a tool (in SDK) to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled easily.