Betamax Generation: Exploring the Resistance to Voice-Driven Technology

Voice-activated search is set to explode, with companies like Neural Voice allowing users to talk to the knowledge of the Internet in a conversational way.

The business has created a wide range of AI characters to demonstrate its capabilities, ranging from lawyers to travel agents who advise on the best holiday destinations.

For example, travel companies can email AI Emily, a virtual travel agent, to previous bookers to find out where they want to go on their “Next Holiday.” Customers then have a conversation with AI Emily about their holiday needs. To achieve this, the system transcribes what they say into words and injects a question into a “Large Language Model” (LLM) to receive a response that turns back into human-sounding speech, all within 0.84 seconds.

Hence, AI Emily’s responses are as fast as a normal human’s but with unlimited knowledge about the world’s top holiday destinations. Emily can guide customers through a choice of destination, right down to individual hotels, while giving customers a full review of all nearby restaurants and bars.

Once Emily has done her job, the customers are emailed back a summarised transcript of their call. The customer’s requirements are also injected into the holiday company’s “Customer Response Marketing” (CRM) system to ensure all future advertising messages are based on their “Next Holiday” requirement and not random holiday offers aimed at getting them to visit the company’s website.

However, although this technology is ideal for most generations, it is likely to be rejected out of hand by the “Betamax” generation of 18–34-year-olds who hate voice interaction. Research shows that 70% will not even pick up the phone when their parents call. Even when they do listen to the message, they prefer to reply by text.

This generation was brought up in a communication world dominated by shorthand text and WhatsApp messaging. They prefer to search by typing into Google and regard parents using voice-activated search with disdain.

I have renamed this “Gen Z” age group the  “Betamax Generation” because, like the video format that battled for supremacy in the mid-80s with the alternative VHS format, the writing is already on the wall for the end of their toys.

Children who cannot yet read and write can use Voice activation to control TVs, open doors, and turn on lights, so there is no way they will revert to typing to search the Internet.

Similarly, the over 35’s brought up in phone conversations have no issue talking to a phone to drive a search query and will be the early adopters of the new Voice-based platforms.

This leaves the “Betamax Generation” out in the cold, with technology rapidly evolving to make their text-based environments redundant.

Interestingly, all business SEO strategies must evolve to allow for the much longer and more complex search terms used by AI search engines.

AI Engines like have already gathered 10 million plus users. They are likely to rapidly eat into Google’s 95% dominance of internet search as its results summarise everything you need to know whilst providing links to the originating articles so that users can validate their conclusions.

The future of search is voice-activated and AI-delivered. You must have the lights off if you’re not reading that writing on the wall.

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