The Personality of Speech Recognition

By Mark Swanson

This is Part 2 of 3 in a series about How VocalQ Has Already Changed Your Business, The Personality of Speech Recognition, and The Problems Are Solved: Quality, Integration, and Security

Speech recognition and processing technologies are on the verge of an explosion in adoption for both consumers and businesses; 2011 saw dozens of new voice enabled applications launched for Android, iOS and Windows.  One of the most visible was launched in October 2011 when Apple announced the iPhone 4GS and its natural language voice control system called SIRI.  This most popular new feature on the iPhone uses results of over 40 years of research funded by DARPA and organizations and universities across the United States. SIRI co-founder Norman Winarsky was not shy about sharing his thoughts on how SIRI will not only change computing, but the entire world.  “The PAL (personal assistant software) will get things done, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

We’re talking another technology revolution; A new computing paradigm shift.

While that statement may be hyperbole, something has changed to generate interest in using voice recognition.    That something is integration of voice recognition with the analytics capabilities of Cloud technologies.

Analytics and the Web go hand-in-hand.  The ability to analyze interactions with customers is one of the primary reasons for the rapid adoption of ecommerce.  The enormous popularity of Amazon’s recommendation engine is a testament to this.  Web analytics allow businesses to measure, collect, analyze and report on Internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing Web usage. Web analytics not only help companies measure Web traffic, but help businesses listen to customers through market research, measure advertising campaigns, determine popularity trends and analyze what works and what doesn’t – both in the aggregate and individually.  On-site analytics measure customer interactions on your Web site.  This includes drivers and conversations in a commercial context – what’s being searched for, what is being purchased, what customers are saying.

The reason SIRI works so well is that it uses Cloud-based technologies to process the context of the spoken language to continuously learn, not only what is said, but also what is meant.   This allows SIRI to have a personality.  And just like a human who fails to understand what you mean, it can fail graciously.  It will interject humor into the conversation, as well as ask clarifying questions.   For example, when one of my co-workers, in a moment of frustration, asked SIRI “Why am I such an idiot?” it responded with, “I have been asking myself that lately.”  When SIRI can’t find an answer to an ambiguous question it can search the Cloud and respond with humor or another question.  SIRI is leveraging a concept called “Big Data.”

Up Next: Part 3 – The Problems Are Solved: Quality, Integration, and Security

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