Before Siri: The History of Talking To Computers

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  • And then came GlaDOS...
  • You seemed to have missed some key technology points that people should know in your bird's eye view.
    -How big a dictionary file the engines can run is important- Can your engine recognize 100 words in a grammar file? What about 1000? How much does this cost to increase? (it is astronomical)
    -How fast the engine is, because results are based on multiple recognition attempts and averaged together. eg: If you do 1 n-best result your accuracy is going to average around 70%, while if you return recognition results 10+ times on the same phrase, you start hitting the 95% average mark.
    -How much effort has been put into determining an accent successfully and then interpreting the results based on the accent. (again, Nuance is 1 million miles agreed of everyone in this department, and is also probably why they can afford to charge so much)
    Limitations- Alpha-Numerics are ridiculously difficult to recognize without limiting user input options. eg: Reading an account number B,3,E.... there is a good chance that there will be a bad recognition unless you start pigeonholing the user input. eg: Nerds create an algorithm in the speeechrec grammar that the 1st entity is a letter, second a number, third a letter... then further fine tune it to eliminate similar sounding entries. eg: 1st is a letter, can't be 'G" so when you say "G" it returns a "B"

    Speechrec has a long way to go....
  • Apple imagined Siri like voice recognition/assistant in 1987 and they got it pretty much right in 2011. I wouldn't say this on any other day, Hat's off to apple.
  • Speech recognition?

    If my machine was using that I wouldn't have to click "See More" 30 times.
  • "Before Siri" as if somehow we now have speech recognition! Let us not pretend that we are even close. For those that doubt, please see real world example:
  • Don't forget about "Hey You Pikachu" on the n64!
  • The 1978 Odyssey² game console had an add-on in 1982 which added speech synthesizes... so cursing was funny when you were 11 or so.
  • The future...? In Four Words.