But What If Voice Isn't Better?

from the situational... dept

For years, we used to hear from voice recognition companies saying that keyboards would eventually be history because voice was a “more natural” way of inputing data into a computer. Most serious voice recognition firms have moved away from that claim, recognizing that both voice and text have their place, but it seems that some in the voice space haven’t quite caught onto the fact that voice isn’t always the best form of communication. So, you would think that reporters would cast a more skeptical eye on a company that’s specifically selling unified messaging claiming that his system will get rid of text because voice is just a much more natural way of communicating. That’s not true. Voice may be better in some instances, but text can be better in many other instances. Text has the advantage of letting the person think through what they’re saying and read it back before they send it to make sure it’s what they want to say. Text also has the advantage of being quiet — which can be especially important in an open office or when you’re entering a password or providing confidential information. Voice certainly does have advantages in providing tone and more immediate feedback, but to say that one is inherently better than the other in all cases is simply a case where someone in a company has fallen too in love with their own product.

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Comments on “But What If Voice Isn't Better?”

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And what about people with disabilities – those who can’t speak or even don’t want to. Also, bad diction, bad grammar, slang and dialects still play a big part in developing voice software that works accurately. The technology just isn’t practical right now.
In a few years we’ll see who does what – I agree it does have its place along with good old-fashioned text, but there will always be a following for manual human interface devices – whatever the future brings for those.

scythe says:

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the one I love, is the voice recognition software they use at banks, “Please say you’re 10 digit account number now”….. like do these people even study managed security risks? it’s much more secure to key in you’re account number than to say it aloud. Not to mention these voice menus are so damned picky that you have to specifically state what menu option you want.

give me back touch tone menus damn you!

Anonymous Coward says:

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Many years ago I had to deal with a European fellow who was head honcho of a voice recognition software firm. My business association with him had nothing to do with either voice recognition or software, but he gave me a free copy of his system, insisting rather autocratically that I use it at the office. I accepted the software, thanked him, but suggested that I probably wouldn’t be using it for routine business. I was an extremely fast typist, I explained, a skill in which I took a certain amount of pride. He smirked, told me that I was deluding myself, and stalked out of my office.

Not too many years later, I understand, he and his company were indicted for fraud.

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