I was recently speaking with my friend Ami Givertz and he asked me about technology that excites me. With this question, I realized that technology does not excite me; its the changes and possibilities that technology brings that excites me. In addition, I’m less excited the day I release a new product, than the day it was conceived. The discovery, the chase, the debate; this is bliss. By the time it is realized, I’m already building something else.
So what is on the next peak? What is just far enough over the horizon that people aren’t really talking about yet? What is going to shake the world and transform it like the Internet did?
Seamless voice recognition (SVR).
Now for those critics out there. I am not picking a date, but I am drafting out a vision of some things that will be reality, once this goal is attained.
I am not a speech recognition expert, however, I do attend the conferences and am a recipient of Speech Technology Magazine. I’ve been using speech recognition for about 10 years now. So what I do have, is some perspective and I am planning products to take advantage of the Speech Recognition technology backbone.
What I mean by seamless voice recognition is simply that it works. Right now, it is rather kludgy. I bought a Lexus a few years back. Press the voice control button and say “Tune to 90.7 FM” (National public radio in Wisconsin) and I have an equal chance of burning my ass by the seat heater, turning the radio off, or navigating to the nearest 7-11 convenient store via the GPS. Not seamless.
Fast forward to 2008.
I have a TomTom GPS that I can talk to. Looks silly having a $200 GPS sitting on the dashboard of a Luxury sedan that has a built in GPS. But it works. Nearly seamless.
Fast forward … a few years.
Based on standard advances in technology, everything we will need for SVR will be on a single chip. Then that chip will get smaller and smaller. Does this trend sound familiar? Eventually that chip will be so small and so cheap that it will be as ubiquitous as chips that power USB ports or basic video displays. This is where the fun starts. Had a great conversation with some people at Intel Corporation today…made me think of chips.
Ever see a 20 year old come face to face with a rotary phone? It’s comical; they press the buttons. The inefficient action of dialing is not intuitive. Our children may look at keyboards in the same way.
Seamless voice recognition will let us talk to our computers, or cars, yes, even the Microsoft Windows powered toaster may be voice controlled. This is the stuff that is commonly thought of.
However, I like the uncommon. Think implantable sub-audible interfaces. Replace a tooth to a microphone embedded denture. Talk in sub-audible levels and control your car, iPhone, toaster, etc with voice commands that no one else can hear. No one will hear you doing it. Query wikipedia while having a beer with a friend…find out who really won the 1986 world series (Go Mets!) and have the answer delivered directly to your bluetooth (or whatever replaces it) earpiece.
Forget facebook and myspace. With seamless voice recognition, you will see websites that will store every living word a person speaks. A diary from first word to death. This is for the voyeurs and historians. Pick a good hobby, there will be so much media in the future that most people will be watchers and not doers.
Web 3.0 will have living history sites that will be data-mined for all those words. Based on laws of processing, disk storage, and memory, storing this stuff will be easy. Search engines like Google (or whatever replaces it) will index these sites. Recruiting software like Broadlook’s tools will mine it, extract it, and dump it in your ATS or terabyte thumdrive, whichever you prefer.
Recruiters will have a field day. Data mining sites with the text of a software engineers heated debates may give you insight into the logical nature of their mind and how well they solve problems. To make this happen, you would need to index and search conceptually versus a mob-rule index like google. Perhaps Dave Copps company, Pure Discovery, will replace google.
Lastly, no matter what recruiting technology is created, I’ve always known that the best way to pick a great software engineer is to have a beer with them.