Skip to comments.How voice technology is transforming computing
Posted on 01/09/2017 12:10:59 PM PST by RoosterRedux
ANY sufficiently advanced technology, noted Arthur C. Clarke, a British science-fiction writer, is indistinguishable from magic. The fast-emerging technology of voice computing proves his point. Using it is just like casting a spell: say a few words into the air, and a nearby device can grant your wish.
The Amazon Echo, a voice-driven cylindrical computer that sits on a table top and answers to the name Alexa, can call up music tracks and radio stations, tell jokes, answer trivia questions and control smart appliances; even before Christmas it was already resident in about 4% of American households. Voice assistants are proliferating in smartphones, too: Apples Siri handles over 2bn commands a week, and 20% of Google searches on Android-powered handsets in America are input by voice. Dictating e-mails and text messages now works reliably enough to be useful. Why type when you can talk?
This is a huge shift. Simple though it may seem, voice has the power to transform computing, by providing a natural means of interaction. Windows, icons and menus, and then touchscreens, were welcomed as more intuitive ways to deal with computers than entering complex keyboard commands. But being able to talk to computers abolishes the need for the abstraction of a user interface at all. Just as mobile phones were more than existing phones without wires, and cars were more than carriages without horses, so computers without screens and keyboards have the potential to be more useful, powerful and ubiquitous than people can imagine today.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
Why type when you can talk?
Search up the video posted the other day where some toddler babbles something in to the Echo and Alexa comes back reciting a whole litany of sexual terms.
I guess they’re working on a parental filter. Now.
Yes, technology is amazing, isn’t it? I hear ISIS is working on its own voice assist.
OK, Muhammad, find a truck that you can hack to drive through this crowd of people in front of me.
I have been waiting on this Technology all my life!
Interestingly, they are ignoring the 800 lb gorilla in the room: Often, even when people can speak instructions, they prefer to type them.
The only time voice commands are awesome is when you are alone.
Ugh. I hate this voice stuff. It’s been around for 20 years, and it never works. It’s vaporware.
I’m certainly not opposed to technological change and some of the voice stuff appeals to me. But I see that no one uses cursive anymore. Now there is “no need” to type. If we’re not careful, we will have an illiterate society. I don’t care what anyone says: it would not be a good thing.
My wife at times like when she tries to enter data, a site or a question on her android smartphone, her fingers don’t match her words.
Last year sometime Google came up with voice search and she started using it.
She is from the Midwest and has a beautiful talking voice with zero accent. So, she and Google voice search got along great. She has expanded that into voice typing. They are a great combo.
I have a southern/sw/western accent with a tang, and google voice and I didn’t do that well. It has gotten better. Also, I type at about 50 wpm, so keyboard entry isn’t that great of a problem. Google and Amazon are doing better understanding me.
She had no problems with our Comcast remote using voice commands. I did for a while. About a month ago Comcast voice started to understand me. That will be a mute point, as we have a goal of cutting the cable with Comcast this month. We will be going to Roku/Sling/Amazon Prime.
There "are" people who can type faster than they talk. I are one of them. Then there is the problem of other people talking when you are trying to use your "vocal interface".
That won’t go over with the snot nosed teen users who have to hide their communications from mom and dad.
I think you are right. It is one of the most fundamental problems with voice commands — the inherent lack of privacy. Interestingly, I saw an analysis a few years back that was addressing a basic conundrum. For decades, people had been predicting that we would interact with computers someday through voice, yet business analysts were finding that even when available, people did very little with voice commands, even as the technology was passing the 95% mark.
What they found was that there were several overlapping problems, that ultimately caused employees to go back to the mouse after playing around with voice input. First, the lack of privacy. Second, people don’t think very well while speaking. Third, a menu, or an icon, gives you a clear set of options, but voice commands don’t let you know what you can and cannot do. Fourth, the lack of precision (where the computer would think you wanted one thing, when you actually wanted something slightly different), drove people crazy, at least when trying to do meaningful work.
This analysis may be somewhat dated, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the basic findings hold true today. Voice may be great for entering search terms, or dictating text, or issuing the most simple of commands (at least, in private). But beyond that it doesn’t have as much potential as people thought back in the 70s.
The voice system on the 16 Tacoma understands my southern accent fairly well.
They probably had red necks like us do the basic voice recognition part.
I’m in a cubicle farm. I try to imagine all of us “speaking” the text of word documents, doing searches, navigating Sharepoint sites, etc.
Seems like a distracting and noisy place. Kinda like the stock market floor. :-)
In Larry Niven’s Ringworld series, you learn that the 200 year old Louis Wu is illiterate. Why learn to read in a society where you talk to computers and they tell you an answer?
My teen texts or types for privacy in conversations with friends. If she wanted to be overhead, she’d be talking on the phone.
The conversational queries for the SEO were ironically developed by adults typing in the questions they’d ask for various searches, purchase orders, etc. I know, I helped contribute to those projects.
Answering Your Questions on Conversational SEO
In Neal Stephenson’s novel “Anathem” there are “cloisters” scattered around the world which eschew all technology. They have books and they learn real skills. The world goes though Dark Ages every thousand years or so and most of the planet is alternately “advanced” or “barbaric” — but the cloisters are a constant and periodically help the world move out of barbarism a little faster than it would otherwise.
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