Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa look poised to explode

Everyone’s going in on virtual assistants. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Google hasGoogle Assistant, Amazon has Alexa, and there’s a whole bunch of chatbots and competitors in between. There are still plenty of rough edges to each, but the field has steadily grown, both in terms of overall user experience and the amount of support they’ve been given.

According to this chart fromStatista, they aren’t about to slow down. Citingrecent datafrom market intelligence firm Tractica, it notes that the number of consumers using virtual digital assistants is expected to rise from 504 million this year to more than 1.8 billion by 2021.

That’s a lot! But as the Siris and Alexas of the world expand from smartphones and speakers to an ever-expanding Internet of Things, it might not be so hard to imagine. Here’s hoping they make the idea of talking to a computer a little more natural by then.