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Why is voice recognition a bad idea?
For a few decades now one of the Next Big Things has been voice interaction with computers. We'll sit back and talk to the computer seamlessly.

I've always thought that was a really bad idea for general purpose computing. Can you picture an office with everyone yakking at their computers? And a decent typist can type faster than they talk for many things. While you might be able to dictate a standard document, trying to do complex things like coding just doesn't work. Even if, someday, we had AIs which could understand speech 100% of the time - dictating code to another person sucks, doing it all day to a computer would just suck more. And how are you going to work on a computer while being on the phone - think call centers, tech support, etc. Or what if you like to listen to music? Or if there are other people in the area talking?

It just doesn't strike me as a good idea, which is why it remains The Future!™. Now, for specific tasks like car navigation systems, phone dialing programs, etc, it makes sense. Situations where speech is the most logical interface - like a phone or a car, where you don't want the person looking at a screen and poking at it while driving. And it works well enough there because it doesn't have to accept general speech, but a limited set - much like Graffiti on PalmOS worked better than most handwriting recognition systems, because it forced the user to write in a specific format - not anyway they pleased.

Why am I talking about this? Because this video had me in tears from laughing so hard.

Video ganked from jwz and mackys

Tags: , ,
Current Location: 42.33821N 71.59212W
I am: amused amused
Current Media: This video

sze From: sze Date: February 14th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
omg, that was awesome!!
ecurrin From: ecurrin Date: February 14th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC) (Direct Link)

Painfully funny

I had to stop watching this I was laughing so hard. It is one of the more painful vid's I have seen in a long time.
also_huey From: also_huey Date: February 14th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, I was almost hysterical watching that, and Liv didn't find it funny at all. Then, I showed her this sad story and she was almost weepy with laughter, and I was just goin' "uh? Hello? 'Injured Nuts' stories = not funny!"
lizzielizzie From: lizzielizzie Date: February 14th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
OK, I laughed -way- harder at the waxing story than at the voice activation video. Maybe it's a girl thing. :-D
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: February 14th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
I laughed at the waxing story too, but not quite as hard.
From: ninjarat Date: February 14th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Never mind the possible security implications. Voice rec + passwords? BAD.
From: not_croaker Date: February 14th, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Here's a worse one for you, that's already been seen as a vulnerability in Windows Vista.

Voice Rec + Web Page w/ embedded audio.

Just take out a few flash ad banners with the right audio attached to them....
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: February 14th, 2007 01:21 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)

I'm impressed that it works at all, even badly.

But yeah, it's still a dumb idea.

So are tablet PCs. Handwriting == ick.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2007 02:56 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Voice recognition will never be useful for general-purpose computing, but it has many good special-purpose uses.

Personally, I'd love to be able to adjust the lighting in a room with voice commands. Or tell my mp3 stereo component to play a certain song instead of having to search for it using a remote.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: February 14th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yeah, like I said, it works well for specialized applications where the grammar is simplified. "Lights - on" is not hard for a system to recognize. "MP3, play, Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb" is a bit harder, but not too bad.

It is certainly easier than generalized grammar.
sciroccoguy From: sciroccoguy Date: February 14th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Its like on Star Trek. Even though they HAD AI's that could understand speech, they still needed keypads and touchscreens to enter in complex commands or write programs.

But I LOVE Navigation systems in cars!! Frakking hillarious vid!!!
sleet01 From: sleet01 Date: February 15th, 2007 07:44 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
My wife came in to complain that I was laughing too hard and I'd better share with her right away; after I explained the setup, she said, "Vista, eh?", sniffed, and walked away.

Congratulations, Microsoft, it's taken you six years and billions of dollars to create the voice version of the Newton character recognition system! :)