I am a long-time Futurist, and technologist. In my career, I have spanned the birth of personal computers, to the rise of Cloud Computing.
Is voice the last digitization frontier?
One of the things I think about as a futurist is the software market, but not how most people think about the software market. I don't believe that open source projects are going to replace commercial software ever. The reason for that is simply something unique about some commercial packages that will prohibit open source software ever. But I do see another consolidation occurring and the software market. I do also see a difference between creativity and productivity software. In the first draft of these futurist posts, I use Dragon dictate. I've also used Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my PC, which is why I'm obsessed with a headset. The better the headset, the better the microphones, the better the voice conversion experience is. So today's thesis is voice. The future of voice!
I have a really good friend, and we like to have wide-ranging philosophical arguments. We normally have those ViaVoice, and the reason for that is that voice recognition on the cell phone isn't quite there yet. I have been waiting the last couple of years for AppleTV to revive the old TV show Siri knows best. My friend and I often spend more time arguing what Siri put than what we say. But the reality is, in fairness, voice dictation on a cell phone is significantly better today than it was ten years ago. Frankly, ten years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to dictate more than 5 to 10 words into minutes. Today as I've said many times, I do the first draft of this article rather thousand words in 15 to 20 minutes on Dragon dictate. Draft two and draft three sometimes occur on Dragon dictate when I read the first draft and realize I missed my point. But sometimes, draft two and draft three occur in Microsoft Word and then publication.
The reason for the conversation is the reality of that voice system now. I have used Dragon voice products for the last fifteen years. Back then, honestly the most part, my PC was underpowered. Not that my PC was specifically a low-end PC, it wasn't. It was underpowered because the processor and memory couldn't handle the rate at which I spoke. Again, I will point out this post was originally dictated into Dragon dictate, an Internet-connected mobile device application. It doesn't have a PCs processor or the memory of a PC to expand. It is using a cell phone solely. So while my PC of 16 years ago was underpowered to do voice conversion, my cell phone can easily do it today. And that is, by the way, Dragon Dictates interacts with servers on the Internet, not solely on the cell phone processor.
With the work from the home revolution that began in earnest in March 2020, things have continued to evolve in the voice world. Live-in meeting translation is something many of the web meeting packages offer now. You speak, someone else speaks, and it converts that to text. Some of the services now also offer translation, you speak some without speaks another language, and you both hear your native language. There are software packages that operate on your cell phone that lets you put the cell phone in the middle of the table and transcribe the voices of everyone in the room. Dragon dictate is a pretty good job of that.
Voice Digitization - on the fly transcription and translation!
But I'm supposed to be a futurist. That is a lot of time spent in a column about the future of voice talking about the past. I cannot hit you with the new cell phone that directly connects your brain that translates everything. That would be a scary thing; sometimes, the jumble that comes out of my head is extremely hard to translate! Right now, I'm about a mile from my house; my cell phone has all four bars and a 5G monitor. It's nationwide 5G. It's not ultra-wideband, but it is 5G. I'm putting about 1200 words into Dragon dictate before I start editing and end up with around oh probably a thousand words for this article. In the future, I foresee three things coming that will be game-changers in the voice recognition world.
Number one is on-the-fly translation, which is possible today, with two-way translation devices and a few available in the market. There are one-way translation devices today (you peak, the voice is translated to another language. The other person speaks, their language translated to yours. There is a pause between the translations). I am referring to live two-way translation.
Number two is high-fidelity voice transcription. In the ever-increasing world of digitization, everything must stay digital the entire time. However, in the best sense of managing a meeting, you have to send notes. Digitized notes of a meeting that convey word for word what was said; that's what high fidelity transcription represents.
Number three is online and offline recording. In some of the meetings I go to, there's a lot of back and forth. Suppose you are trying to transcribe and record at the same time. In that case, it's conceivable to miss, you know, 1012 words in the course of a 30,000-word meeting, so the online functionality and the offline functionality would integrate into one system. The device would simultaneously record the offline version and would transcribe the online version. Now you can convert the offline recording into meeting notes and verify that you didn't miss something due to microphone issues or something else in the transcription.
I can do all three of these today, what I don't have a device that does all three, and that is the future of voice. Simply, a voice system that will do all three of those actions at the same time. The other side of this will be the automation of the system that once the lights are on in a conference room, the system begins recording. That will be the last advance for that initial voice of tomorrow concept—voices such an interval concept within human society. Voices are often the glue that keeps groups together.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 DocAndersen