Voice technology has steadily improved over the years. We are all too familiar with customer service organizations that use interactive voice recognition (IVR) systems. Press 1 for English. Say or speak your 14 digit account number. Your card has been activated; if you need further assistance please say "YES." Computers routinely talk to us by phone and guide us through inquiries, transactions and other activities. While reviewing this column this morning, as if on queue, I received a phone call from the local car dealer confirming my service appointment. "Hello," the pleasant automated voice said, "We are confirming your appointment for twelve o'clock ... if you are still planning on coming, please say yes."
Voice activated systems are all around us. So why hasn't voice activation achieved broader acceptance? One of the last remaining hurdles is the need for a trigger. To get its attention you had to say, "Wildfire" before speaking a command. In your car you typically push a button and, after the tone, speak your command. Voice activation must advance to the point where your commands are heard in context and allow the system to realize when you are speaking to it.
There is some work being done in this area but until it becomes mainstream I'm afraid we're going to have to continue to somehow get the computer's attention before asking it to do something.
Most wives will understand this since husbands typically operate the same way.
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