left speechless

Voice search and the future.

Ok, so it might not be a new idea, but I recently tested out Google’s voice search app in the Chrome browser for iPad. After the initial silliness of trying to get Google to look up swear words (it wouldn’t), the novelty quickly wore off.

Although I can see how voice search may be quite an accessible function for those who aren’t able to type, I can’t yet see how it applies to me. All the same, it got me wondering where this technology is headed.

Voice search is becoming increasingly popular on personal devices. The most common software is probably Apple’s Siri on the iPhone 4S. By using voice recognition it acts like an intelligent virtual navigator by answering questions and performing tasks on behalf of the user.

Voice search is also already available on various tablet computers, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the third generation iPad. And Samsung’s SmartTV is also revolutionising the way we relax. Their next-generation TVs feature voice and gesture control, as well as the ability to recognise faces. And I hear that Sony and LG aren’t far behind.

So beyond what is already in use today, I suppose we can soon expect to see similar applications in our cars and homes becoming more commonplace too. And we’ve all seen how thought-to-speech makes communication possible for ‘locked-in’ patients, but surely it’s only a matter of time before it becomes available to the masses.

If you’ve ever watched Disney Pixar’s Wall-E, you’ll remember those immobile, consumerist blobs (let’s call them humans), whizzing about on hover chairs while spending all day staring at their computer screens. With all of these new and emerging technologies, is this the future we are in for? Will those blobs soon become the norm? Oh, wait minute…