In praise of voice recognition, with all the caveats.

I really like voice recognition. There, I’ve said it. I get a nasty feeling that such sentiments will set me up as either non-independent, or a geeky laughing stock, or worse. But – it works for me: I dictated this post for example. With voice recognition at the moment however, comes a list of caveats as long as your arm:

– the only technology I’ve found that really cuts the mustard is Dragon Naturally Speaking, from Nuance. This is less a product endorsement, and more a statement on the fact that IBM ViaVoice and the Microsoft offerings just don’t sem to cut the mustard – at least they didn’t last time I tried.

– you have to train it. No instant gratification with voice recognition

– results are not perfect – I had to edit the post above afterwards for example

– my experiences with voice-enabled phone directories have been, to be fair, mixed to poor.

All the same, I can see it having a place in our technological future – as a feature, not as a product. We’re already (with bluetooth headsets) over the idea of people talking to themselves inanely, so that shouldn’t be a barrier. Well, we’ll see – I’ve just ordered an OQO PC (a week ago – the first one had to go back because of a power supply fault) and the plan is to test it out as a voice rec device. As with everything, keep watching this space.

In praise of voice recognition, with all the caveats.

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