Are you Her? Talking to your computer is the future


The majority of sci-fi movies tend to show people talking to their computers rather than tapping away at a keyboard, and it looks as though this fiction may be about to become fact. So, stop typing and start talking, because speech recognition technology is coming.

New movie, Her, depicts a near-future where technology is more people-centric. The world Her details is one where technology has receded – dissolving into everyday life, and ultimately, integrating more seamlessly and discreetly.

And this near-future is exactly that. Humans have always been good at communicating, but the issue has been how good computers are at understanding. However, software such as Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 have emerged which deliver an intuitive interface.

Boasting enhanced support for Microsoft Office 2013 and Internet Explorer 10 means that the software works in the programmes most of us use day-to-day, allowing the start of speech control to become an integral part of our future computing experience.

Using our voices would not only makes using PCs easier, but also significantly faster, as we speak three times faster than we type. The capabilities of this new software correlates to the world seen in Her, as main protagonist Theo, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, talks to his computer via an earpiece, demonstrating a human liberation from a world of screens and keyboards.

A conversational interface, like Samantha in the film, simplifies technology as an OS that can understand natural language means every menu, tool and function is available on request. By using general language models based on spoken English, Dragon 12 adapts to the user’s unique speech pattern and vocabulary choices.

The software will continually refine the profile it makes for the user and when an incorrect recognition is corrected, Dragon updates again, meaning its accuracy of speech recognition is constantly improving over time.

Although our present day speech recognition software isn’t quite at a Samantha level yet, it certainly could be very soon.

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