Saturday, August 02, 2003

Voice Recognition

For a taste of just how good computer voice recognition is getting, call (800) 555-1212 and ask for the listing for American Airlines or Delta Airlines. A robotic system will recognize what you are saying (even something like the phrase "American Airlines") and give you the number.

Then, once you have the number, call American or Delta and navigate their voice-operating arrival and departure systems. Just pick any two cities (like Atlanta and Orlando) and give a time like 9AM. One of these systems is provided by a company called TellMe.

In 10 years, voice recognition systems will be flawless. They will understand multiple languages and complex phrases with ease. By 2015, big box retailers will have deployed voice-recognizing robots and kiosks throughout the store to help customers find the items they need. Any drive-through ordering system at a fast food restaurant will be automated, and many restaurants that had been using kiosks for ordering will be switching over to a more natural voice entry system. Call centers and help desks will be heading toward complete automation for routine calls. And so on.

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