walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Or Maybe in Voice Control

This is a follow-up to my next bubble is in the cloud post.

My next door neighbor recently went back to work. She works from home part of the time, but there is a substantial travel commitment and when, on those rare occasions, we get a chance to chat, she always has interesting things to say. This time, she was repeating part of Mary Meeker's presentation, specifically, the bit about the first 6 quarters of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. The first thing out of my mouth every time someone mentions Mary Meeker is not a kind thing to say (and, honestly, probably not fair to Ms. Meeker so I won't repeat it here) and I took it partway back after qualifying it as being based on my perceptions of Meeker back in the late 1990s (when she was super gung ho on Amazon based in part on free cash flow; a lot of people _really_ liked that an analyst "got it" but she was _super_ gung ho and there's this whole go up fast come down hard thing with stocks that should never ever ever be forgotten). The graph is an interesting one and thought provoking; the slide deck as a whole is as well.

http://www.businessinsider.com/mary-meekers-latest-awesome-web-20-presentation-about-the-state-of-the-web-2011-10

As part of the same conversation, J. asked me what I thought about voice control and we passed that idea back a few times. I'm very skeptical of the idea that keyboards are going to go away, but I could imagine -- as J. was suggesting -- that there are probably more people quite happy to interact with things through voice control than there are people who, like me, find keyboards wildly more efficient. I don't see an voice based input system letting me work as efficiently (especially if you factor in going back and editing something). But you never know.

Part of my skepticism about voice input/control is because I loathe listening to information-as-information. Unless I'm studying the non-verbals/crowd response, I'd far rather read a speech than listen to it (it's way faster, too).

But there are some areas where voice might make a ton of sense. Programming the Tivo is a monster PITA; if I could speak the names of the shows I want it to record and tell it how I want it to handle clashes (if there are three things to record at a particular point, tell it which one to delay for a later airing/skip entirely), I think I'd be way happier. One of the rumors out there based on the Jobs bio is that Apple TV is going to be combined with the Apple Cloud and Siri to Just Do The Right Thing. I sure hope that's true -- and I sure don't believe it is.

I cannot, however, shake the feeling that we might be looking at a near future in which we're talking to our toasters, a la Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [<-- yeah, that's wrong. As R. points out in the comments, Red Dwarf] -- and the toasters will probably talk back. Hopefully they won't be depressed geniuses.
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