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Jared Tyler
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Handwriting consumes one hand and inhibits you from using the other, which directly influences your efficiency... Yes, if you can type faster than handwrite (which most people can) obviously handwriting recognition is pointless. Speaking with your voice does not consume either of your hands. The key to understanding the potential of voice recognition is to avoid assuming that it will be the single interface to the computer. You can keep working with the mouse/keyboard (or whatever hand-focused interface exists at that time) and, if you want to do something that would be faster if you didn't stop your hands from what they were doing, you simply talk to it. However, people can speak simple commands faster than they type and faster than they move a mouse, since general-purpose computers usually have so much they can do that everything becomes buried in the UI, even the simple things. The comment that David Reagan made above exemplifies this point wonderfully. "Wouldn't it be many times faster to click the toolbar icon with your mouse, or press the keyboard command equivalent, to sum the column -- rather than methodically and tediously saying the words "sum this column" out loud?" -- I'm sure something similar was once said about toolbar buttons ("wouldn't it be easier to open the File menu and click Save instead of searching for the tiny little save icon amongst all those buttons up there?") but we learned pretty quickly that you get used to it and don't really need to "look" for the button, despite how many buttons there are. "I suspect that's still not good enough in the face of the existing simpler alternatives." -- No doubt StackOverflow was not precisely what you wanted it to be when it began. If you had said, "Oh, this isn't absolutely, mind-blowingly spectacular today, so I think I'll just give up on it," where do you think we would be today? And finally... "In 2004, Mike Bliss composed a poem about voice recognition. [...] The real punchline here is that Mike re-ran the experiment in 2008, and after 5 minutes of voice training, the voice recognition got all but 2 words of the original poem correct!" -- If this is not a direct and blatantly obvious display of the improvement of voice recognition software, I don't know what is. Yes, it took 5 minutes of voice training. Now he doesn't need to do that voice training anymore - it was 5 minutes, once. And if we don't just give up on voice recognition now, then eventually that will be 1 minute of training, and maybe someday the AI won't need training and will change its expectations as it gets to know you better. The point is... There are places where voice recognition helps (as a third interface to the machine: hand/hand/voice) and there are places where it simply doesn't belong. Just like the computer itself. But if we aren't willing to understand that, then we'll never see what it can do. If we had decided that computers were a waste of space and energy when they were the size of rooms, where would we be today?
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Jun 21, 2010