In recent years, the rise of the smartphone personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Now has managed to remind us that voice recognition is one of the most important digital technologies being developed these days.
The advanced recognition and parsing of the human voice and speech are intrinsic aspects of our technological future. We want smarter devices, which means that we want them to do more than simply recognize voice commands; we want to use our voice as the ultimate input accessory and we also want to be able to talk to our devices.
In the next few years, we will be seeing the implementation of the following five advances in voice recognition technology.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
In science fiction, the moment in time when artificial intelligence will surpass the thinking capacity of humans is known as the “singularity.” Most futurologists agree that we will not come close to singularity until we are able to design devices or systems that can understand NLP commands and carry on a conversation with us. NLP development is already being applied in the legal and medical fields for the benefit of researchers who can benefit from being able to query massive databases through voice commands.
Smart personal assistants everywhere
Software applications such as Siri and Cortana are already moving beyond smartphones. Chinese firm WhyNot Tech is working on installing smart personal assistants in various devices such as remote controls, rings, and household appliances. The idea is to upgrade the old graphic and touch-enabled user interfaces and replace them with options we can talk to.
Enhanced museum displays
At the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, a large video display of a man who survived a concentration camp in during World War II greets visitors, listens to their questions and provides thoughtful answers. Museum curators and directors are paying close attention to how visitors are responding to the use of voice recognition for the purpose of developing more applications that can be used in future exhibits, which may combine the use of holograms.
Conversational user interfaces (CUI)
The Star Trek computer is closer to reality thanks to speech recognition researchers, engineers and developers who are working on a solution that can replace most of what we know as the computer operation system (OS). Currently, smart personal assistants are part of an OS; the next step is to minimize the graphic components of the OS and replace them with interfaces that favor microphones as input devices. Next-generation CUI devices will be small boxes equipped with a microphone and speakers that can respond to queries and handle commands while carrying out a conversation.
The human voice can be used for the purpose of identification or verification. Voice bio-metrics is a specialized sub-field of computer and network security that will continue to advance substantially over the next few years. The financial industry already uses voice in automated customer service applications such as telephone-based banking; the next step would be to eliminate PIN codes and account numbers by applying the use of passphrases. Next-generation voice bio-metrics systems are being developed to recognize the physical and behavioral traits that make our speech unique.