Human-Computer Interaction

The Future of Human-Computer Interaction: From Voice Assistants to Brain-Computer Interfaces

The Future of Human-Computer Interaction: From Voice Assistants to Brain-Computer Interfaces

Computers have been behind some of the greatest, most powerful achievements in human history across cultures and generations. From calculation speed to interconnectivity, it’d be tough to imagine the same kind of technological advances we have taken without the aid of computers, or what a modern world would look like without them. However, getting a computer to do what you want it to do has not always been a piece of cake and, in many ways, it is still challenging for many. Computers “think” in fundamentally different ways than humans do, meaning that the “translation” process from human to computer is fundamentally crucial to any functioning system. How human-computer interaction is designed is a big part of making computers more accessible to people, as well as more powerful for professional and savvy users. Human-computer interaction has already come a long way in the decades our digital friends have been around, but the future of human-computer interaction is bound to bring a tech-reality of which many have only dreamed.


When talking about futuristic human-computer interaction, immersion is often the concept that comes up for many. The biggest representative of immersion technology in this sense is probably Virtual Reality (VR), and for good reason. VR is nothing new, yet it has been conjuring futuristic sentiments for users, from the cardboard VR device all the way up to Apple’s new VR product, and it will most likely continue to do so. As far as investment goes, it is a goldmine for entertainment companies and brands and has already become a pillar of entertainment for various video game developers and communities.

Beyond an immersive video game experience, however, VR has the potential to bring so much more to users across disciplines and niches. In a post-quarantine world, Zoom and other virtual meetings are an artifacts that many are not very fond of. For many, the issue is that virtual calls and conferences can be downright exhausting, and often without the proper payoff of social interaction. Virtual calls work well enough to be a relatively efficient means of communication, and it’s immersive enough to support a culture of collaboration, but nobody’s staring at the screen and feeling like they’re in the room with their colleagues.

As VR technology gets better and more accessible, things like virtual conference calls can start to feel much more immersive and legitimately social. The convenience and cost-efficiency of virtual calls may not be something that we can give up on, especially as teams continue to become more remote, hybrid, and global, but getting virtual calls to feel more intimate, like you’re actually in the room with your coworkers, can bring engagement and interaction back as a key feature of meetings. It’s no secret to any of us that virtual calls now aren’t exactly our most engaging moments.  

Beyond meetings, the future of VR can help professionals solve problems like never before. When it comes to hyper-precise work like plumbing or even surgery, professionals can be brought into the room to solve the problem without having to leave their offices. This brings a whole new meaning to phoning in help when the help can literally appear right in front of you.


On top of how humans interact with computers, the future of human-computer interaction must take into account how computers interact back. Specifically, whether the input be verbal, text, or physical, a smarter user interface won’t just process the information, but it will talk to the user and make sure that solutions are being found. This might sound even more like science fiction, but it’s been available and plastered all over the internet for months now.

ChatGPT has been the poster child for AI communication and interaction, and for good reason. OpenAI’s sophisticated AI chatbot has brought us a concrete example of the future: a computer that literally talks back to you, and holds conversation like a person. When it comes to making human-computer interactions easier, in many ways, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. Whereas communicating with computers before required a relatively high understanding of either programming languages or, at least, an understanding of the specific programs and software to be used, ChatGPT and similar software cuts this barrier to entry down to almost nothing, as it can immediately take and interpret natural language.

As impressive as ChatGPT is, there is still plenty of room to grow. The paid and newer variations, like GPT-4, are even closer to a truly “intelligent” assistant and bring many more features to the table. However, the future of intelligent interpretation will surely bring a much more seamless conversational experience, with much more accurate and timely insights into the world. For now, ChatGPT and GPT-4 are tools that need to be taken with a grain of salt. They are incredibly impressive, but trusting them unconditionally could land you in a bit of trouble. The future of AI, NLP, and HCI (human-computer interaction), however, promises a much more sophisticated and trustworthy version of ChatGPT that will live up to our sci-fi dreams.


The immersion and intelligence pillars alone are important and impressive, but bringing human-computer interaction into the future means introducing a whole new world of integration. The question is, how exactly do these features interact with one another, and how will they be brought into our realities?

The information and help that computers and devices can provide are limited to the data they can receive. For instance, ChatGPT can assist you in gathering and summarizing vast amounts of information spread across the internet, but it falls short when it comes to insights into your day-to-day activities and information. The AI’s limited short-term memory can’t help you plan for the weather or check in on your daily steps, for example since it does not have access to real-time data. At least, not yet.

While the challenges of real-time data processing remain obstacles to grapple with, the applications are clear and powerful. If our AI assistant dreams look like Tony Stark’s JARVIS, being able to process real-time information is vital. Immersion, in this sense, would also go a long way. Think of Google’s now-abandoned AR project, Google Glass. It was a concept that was perhaps ahead of its time, but the vision was clear. With the power of AI interaction we have today, and certainly with the power it will have in the future, combining AI conversation with direct, real-world insights into your daily life would be a powerful tool to wield. You could check your steps with a simple voice command, sure, but you could also navigate to a new location without checking your phone, search for more information about anything that you see, and translate foreign writing at the blink of an eye—the world of information on the glass of your lenses. Making this interaction as seamless as possible goes even further. What’s even faster than talking to a fully capable AI assistant? Just thinking.

Brain-computer interfaces aim to implement precisely this: controlling the computer with your thoughts. With implants, this may very well be the first step towards full cyborg-ification of the AI path, and it would undoubtedly be the most transformative transition into a full information age. For companies like Neuralink, this is far from just a hypothetical future.

It may take some time before we achieve this full cyborg future, but it’s important to remember that the race for AI proficiency and for elite human-computer interaction is more than just a competition to develop the most sophisticated technology of the era. We live in an era where information is being created faster than ever before. Being successful in almost any field requires an unprecedented capacity to find, understand, and communicate information at the drop of a hat. To keep up, we’re going to need some help. Some intelligent help.

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