Three Digital Assistants Walk Into A Bar…

With the September completion of our latest short film Kaishakunin, John and I were wrapping our heads around what our next film project would be, when an entirely unexpected idea came out of left field.

John looked at Amazon’s Echo for awhile and thought it presented some interesting possibilities in terms of content creation; however, it comes with a catch. Alexa requires  software development to make anything work.  Further research shows that it’s also the case for other digital assistants like Google Home and Microsoft’s Invoke.

For those not familiar with these devices, they are internet-enabled devices you can control with your voice that can be used to perform a variety of functions, ranging from checking the weather and traffic conditions to getting the news, playing music or ordering takeout.  New “skills” are created for these devices by software developers and then pushed out by the device manufacturers for activation by consumers. The structure of these skills lend themselves to text-based chat bots and it’s conceivable that the same audio experience on Alexa can be expressed on a Facebook Messenger Bot and any chat client.

As it just so happens, John and I have spent the last couple of decades in our day jobs as software developers.  So, to make a long story short, John pitched me with his idea.  I just happened to be unemployed and begrudgingly deciding what to do with myself at the time, and well – I bit.

So yeah, for the past couple of months, we’ve been banging away at a software project. It presents an intriguing intersection between our experience generating entertainment and media and our technical software development skills. We think it’s a good opportunity to synthesize our left and right brain activities and see what we can do with these digital assistants.

Is this a new direction for Small Basket Studios?  Well – if I were a betting man…

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