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Talk to Your Comptuer Lately?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Talk to a computer lately? The answer is probably more often than you think. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Speech recognition technology is everywhere these days. And there seem to be fewer jokes about consumer frustrations with it than there used to be. Now…the speech recognition being built into many cell phones and cars…is pretty cool stuff. Brian Garr is program manager for advanced technology at IBM Voice Systems….

"It's the whole idea of being able to navigate and say…where is the closest Starbucks or where is the closest McDonalds and getting directions to it and navigating to it. Or saying I want to go to 590 Madison Avenue in New York City and being able to get directions on your nav system is revolutionary because it's a different way of controlling your car. It's a different way of actually living the driving experience you're going through on a daily basis."

And one of the biggest breakthroughs…is the ability to use natural language …

"So you don't have to answer a directed dialogue set of rules and regulations when you talk to your device. You can say where is something, or I want to go someplace, or I want to hear a Barry Manilow song. And the system will find Barry Manilow songs and list them off to you and you can choose which one. So you can use your voice in a very natural way to issue commands to a computer."

Among the next frontiers…the ability of machines to recognize not just what is being said…but who is saying it. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.