“You Better Recognize:” Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Voice Recognition Software

Posted on August 15, 2013



When one thinks of voice recognition software, what thoughts possibly come to mind?  Well, first off, does one really even think about said software? In an ever-expanding, technologically overloaded society, is it just learned, used and never given a second thought like other software? (When was the last time you took the time to read your new phone, tablet or laptop manual? Me neither.)  More likely still, is voice recognition, like most software, just constantly complained about? (“That’s not what I said Siri; it’s mail, not male!”)  Yet, like all technologies, voice recognition has its own unique roots.  There were, of course, people who created it and people who developed it, along with people who market it and perhaps most important of all, people that listen to all of us complainers and improve it to create a more successful product.

Interestingly enough, voice recognition can be traced all the way back to the 1939 World’s Fair, in which AT&T’s Bell Labs (you know, one of those phone companies we tend to complain about) demonstrated a foot-powered keyboard that could emit speech.  Many strides were then made in the industry, until Texas Instruments came out with its popular toy, the “Speak and Spell,” or as comedian Dane Cook fondly referred to it, “speak like the devil.” If you happen to remember this device, you will remember that voice recognition had a long way to go. 

But, great strides were eventually made, and two companies are now at the industry’s forefront in offering realistic, user-friendly voice recognition software. First was Dragon Systems, which was founded by Drs. Jim and Janet Baker. You may remember this system as the one being shilled on an infomercial at 3 AM: “Ever since I started using Dragon, I went from a failing student, to now I’m getting straight A’s.  Thanks, Dragon!”  Second was Apple’s Siri, which was actually created through tax-payer defense-sponsored research, then acquired by Apple so we can use it to tell us where the nearest shoe store is.  Now that we have a very broad understanding of how voice recognition software originated (for a more in-depth history, I recommend asking Siri), let’s find out who uses the products—and not just to find out tonight’s movie times.

Well, as a matter of fact, voice recognition software is regularly used.  Why?  It offers simplicity, not to be confused with laziness, at a low cost to the user. “Dragon Naturally Speaking” appears to be a very popular choice on Amazon.com, ranging from as low as thirty dollars up to around one-hundred seventy. Now that seems a lot cheaper than regular visits to your physical therapist for your crippling carpal tunnel syndrome, wouldn’t you say? 

Still, why would an author use this software?  Isn’t a writer supposed to write?  This may be true, but now that these types of software are becoming more and more accurate, an author has the ability to truly capture his intended “voice” (no pun intended) in his writing, without a “thought-to-hand delay.”  This means that the author can more accurately recount her thoughts and ideas in her writing.

So, as voice recognition is becoming more and more sophisticated, with some types even possessing the ability to remember one’s format preferences and some claiming a 99% accuracy level, it is becoming more and more popular. With its popularity, its success is rising. However, this success will only continue to grow if the industry continues to listen to all of us “containers” out there.  (“I said complainers, not containers; get it together, Siri!”)

Hans Freiwald, Editor and Writer, Asta Publications


Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

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