06 Jan

The Future of Voice Recognition Involves An Executive Decision

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You've seen the TV commercials featuring Siri, the digital assistant for iPhones. "She" gives directions, looks up information and even seems to appreciate a user's sense of humor. That's a significant step forward from phone answering systems that used to translate simple phrases into gibberish, as in "Please connect me to a representative" being answered with something like, "I'm sorry you're having difficulty making a choice."

The ability to respond to individual users' habits and personalities means that voice recognition, which began in the 1950s with systems that only understood single, spoken digits, looks to become the next big add-on to computing systems -- particularly mobile systems that already offer some degree of hands-free operations.

But who really needs that, besides movie stars who can't remember how to make their signature recipes?

Let's face it. Other than mildly impressing co-workers and relatives, the only advantage of any voice-activated device lies in leaving your hands free to do work -- that's right, work -- that would otherwise require manual input. The same consumers who like touchscreen technology might not appreciate a voice-based system that only helps them work more. But their top-down thinking counterparts might.

The future of voice-assisted efficiency probably lies in the hands of those high priests of multi-tasking: Executives who long ago ditched the primitive wiles of pagers and PDAs in favor of the maxed out world of tablets, hybrids and smartphones.

Siri might not be made for the world of executive decisions. Her descendants, though, seem certain to be.

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Read 2767 times Last modified on Sunday, 06 January 2013 08:50
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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