Voice Recognition

The future is here! Computers deciphering speech, cars commandeered by satellite
and miracles of miniaturization are a reality. Are you ready to take advantage
of this technology? Voice recognition along with these other new advances in
technology are going to vastly increase the accessibility and function of
personal computers. As viable working speech recognition software reaches the
people the way we work with computers will be transformed. This hands-free
technology will allow our words per minute to be dictated by our ability to
express coherent ideas verbally, versus our typing skills. At first we may have
to tolerate some clunky or limited command interactions but as the software
evolves we can expect to see even greater accessibility for people of lesser
computer skills. For those who use computers daily, hand held computers with
voice input will increase their own ability to multitask. We'll soon be able to
walk, talk, word-process and chew gum all at once. The miniaturization of
technology is putting greater power in our grasp daily. The personal computer
will soon be off our lap and in our palm. What used to take up the space of a
desk may soon be no larger than a Walkman. This technology is bound to put a
dent in your pocketbook, however we can expect that competition in the market
will eventually lower prices. Advancements in heads up display, or HUD
technology will further integrate the computer with our everyday lives.

Developed early on for fighter pilots, the military now has a lightweight
headgear unit for the foot soldier. This marriage of information at a glance and
sustained interaction with the non-virtual world will be a breakthrough for ease
of use in the civilian domain. If you thought Walkmans were annoying, we may now
have to listen to the chatter of these people walking around with their computer
headsets. Those with the latest in guidance and navigational technology in their
automobiles will now be able to compute on the commute. As these couplings of
advancement in technology become a reality an even broader segment of the
population will have access to these tools. Whether or not these advancements
will increase a connectedness through communication amongst people or further
detachment in the first person remains to be seen. I personally am excited at
the thought of having this technology at my side in the not so distant future.

How soon will we have the voice recognition software? Three companies; Dragon

Systems, Lernout & Hawspie and IBM, are selling remarkably good software
that lets you speak into a microphone to dictate documents and control your PC.

The programmers certainly have their work cut out for them. Will we forgive them
if we dictate "Recognize Speech" and it comes out, "wreck a nice
beach"? I believe as the technology continues to be refined, voice
interfacing will become par for the course. Technology advancements have brought
us an ease of use, which with continuing development promises to draw more
people closer yet to their PC's. Fifteen years ago computers were a hobby at
best for the public at large. The early Tandy's and Commadore 64's had little
practical application and "multi-tasking" was a gleam in the BASIC
programmer's eye. With the rapid pace of advancements, one can only imagine what
the next fifteen years hold in store.