Thoughts on software and life.

Wednesday April 28

Voice Commands

As long as I can remember, people have envisioned that someday we'd be able to interact with our computer by speaking to it. I've always been skeptical about this approach, as I think speech to be a rather inefficient and impractical input method compared to typing or mousing. However, today it struck me that there is one particular application that speech would be absolutely perfect for: configuring user preferences.

Preferences are the kind of thing you don't do often, and when you do, it is often frustrating to find the command or GUI that allows you to make the change you have in mind. Wouldn't it be incredible if you could just yell at your computer "Stop dimming the display! Only dim it if I'm not here for an hour, dumbass." or "Please let me know when Jane comes online."

Contrast this with the modern voice applications, which (as far as I've observed) only allow you to transcribe text or issue discrete commands like "Delete File" or "Copy". If I have to do something repeatedly, I want to do it quickly and quietly with my hands, thank you. When I don't know how to do something with my hands, I can think of no better alternative than my voice.

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