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Speech Recognition Turns Up the Volume

Techstination feature for Monday, August 8, 2005

Speech recognition turns up the volume. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's not quite to the point of Star Trek yet, but we're doing a lot more talking to computers these days. Call just about any help line, airline or many other types of companies….and the first person you talk to …isn't a person at all. And those computers that answer have gotten pretty good at understanding what we say. At IBM, the program director for multimodal and voice products, Igor Jablokov, says the technology is about to become what IBM would call pervasive. The company's speech technology is already being used by Honda for navigation systems and by GM for its OnStar system…

"Beyond that, in the next two to five years, you'll see it in consumer electronic devices where your remote control might have a microphone embedded into it and you could just say show me G rated content for my children to watch. Show me what football is playing this weekend, etcetera, and having that type of experience. Beyond that, you'll have, look farther ahead, in the five year time frame, you'll just have a vast quantity of Web sites that are speech enabled."

Trying to navigate through Web sites on phones or PDAs today is clumsy at best. Using your voice to get the information you need should be much more simple. And…says Jablokov…imagine how much easier it would be to control a portable digital music player in your car…if you could tell it which songs or playlist you wanted to hear. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.