Voice technology is swiftly and surely becoming more and more popular as time passes by. By definition, voice technology is essentially any form of technology that is operated through the use of speech recognition software and artificial intelligence rather than manually. It first came to prominence across the world when Apple implemented its Siri software, that allows users to essentially tell their iPhone what it is that they want it to do. While this kind of technology has been popular and widely used for quite some time now, that is nothing compared to where it will be in the near future. One day soon, voice technology will likely be used more ubiquitously than touch screens are being used today.
The software that allows voice technology to work at all is known as speech recognition or speech to text. It allows the recognition and the recording of the sound of human speech, which is then translated from audio information into text. The amount of research and development that has been required in order to accomplish such a seemingly simple task astounds many people at first. The first piece of speech recognition technology was invented as long ago as in 1952, and since then the technology has hit a new milestone essentially year after year. Slowly but surely, the amount of words that these devices could recognize grew larger and larger, until today, when entire dictionaries worth of words are available in more than one language potentially.
Because of the degree to which speech recognition software and voice technology have developed over the previous one hundred years, voice technology is now one of the most widespread and popular applications of limited artificial intelligence currently in use today. Devices such as the Amazon Echo and Alexa are being sold by the millions, reaching households across the world and providing them with one of the first examples of an artificial intelligence they may have ever seen. Those two devices in particular were originally conceived and marketed as a kind of “smart” speaker, allowing users to give vocal commands in order to decide which songs to play. However, they do far more than just play music. They take advantage of the internet of things, through which each and every device we own is becoming wirelessly connected, in order to perform a variety of tasks when given the command.
Instead of simply being a speaker for your music, this kind of voice technology has turned out to be essentially a robotic personal assistant. Amazon’s Alexa has tens of thousands of different tasks and skills written into its software, all of which can be implemented with a simple voice command. And if you want to add some kind of skill to that list, it is a simple and intuitive process anyone should be able to perform. Now, while clearly this kind of voice technology is going to become ubiquitous throughout the world, there are some problems with the speech recognition still. Depending on your accent, these devices may not be able to understand any of your vocal commands, a frustratingly common flaw. Furthermore, voice technology is (for the most part) entirely useless for those who have some kind of hearing impairment. The deaf have very little use for voice technology.