Technofiles: Talk to the Machine; December 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by David Pogue; 1 Page(s)
In the past couple of years speech-recognition software has quietly grown tendrils into every corner of our lives. It’s at the other end of customer-support hotlines and airline reservation systems. It’s built into Microsoft Windows. It’s an alternative text-input method for touch-screen phones such as the iPhone and the Android. But let’s face it: most people who use this software wish they didn’t have to.
That’s because speech recognition is usually plan B: a least terrible alternative to typing or actual human conversation. Corporations use it for their phone systems because it’s cheaper than hiring real people. Many people who dictate into their computers do it because they must, perhaps because of a disability. And speech recognition is cropping up on touch-screen phones because typing on an on-screen keyboard is slow and fussy.