Technology has impacted our lives with every advancement we’ve made. It’s even more impressive to believe how quickly it happened. In just 10 years, we went from basic phones that could only call and text to smartphones that function as mini computers. One critical piece of technology that has evolved in ways we couldn’t imagine is voice recognition technology. It has changed the way we interact with our electronic devices — and it’s only going to get better from there.
What is Voice Recognition Technology?
At its simplest definition, speech recognition technology basically turns human speech into a command for computers, TVs, cars, etc. This element of technology used to be a thing of science fiction; HAL 9000 is an example of a computer reacting to human speech from Space Odyssey. Now it’s a real concept and every minute it has improved. We’ve gotten to a point where it’s possible to have full on conversations with an AI/computer, albeit frustratingly (Siri we’re looking at you).
How does Voice Recognition Work?
Computers and electronics may be powerful and super fast, but they aren’t humans. The science behind speech recognition is complicated and boils down to how we humans compose language, the way we pronounce words, and how we create sentences/phrases.
Electronic devices come equipped with an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). What this does is recognize the vibrations in the airwaves caused by speech and turns it into data.
Next the device automatically filters out the sample to create a clearer voice and group it into certain frequencies to match it with the devices pre-installed sound templates.
At this point, the computer will divide the sample into separate segments and match them to phonemes (sounds of the letters/words in language). Finally, after all this is done, the computer runs what it now knows about the sample through a database of known phrases and vocabulary before executing the task. These phrases and vocabulary words are already a pre-installed part of the computer; the more you use voice recognition, the more it remembers your speech and it learns new words.
It seems complicated and it only gets more complex from there, but at face value that’s how voice recognition works. You can get more in-depth here. It’s amazing how computers and smartphones can do this in the blink of an eye.
Voice Tech in the Mobile World
So how does speech recognition fare on the mobile front? Extremely well, actually. Siri for iPhone has been around since 2011 for the iPhone 4S and has only grown more and more intelligent since then. Google Now has been released for iOS and Android. Cortana has been released on all mobile platforms (iOS is expecting a release in the near future). These are all pieces of voice technology, but function extremely well as personal assistants. All of these assistants can easily set reminders and appointments for you so you don’t need to. You can command them to open apps in seconds, as well as look up info on a particular subject with ease (e.g What’s the weather forecast for New York?). And when you’re feeling alone, you can have a limited (but enlightening) conversation with either one of the voice assistants. What speech recognition has been able to do on smartphones is simplify the way we interact with our devices in ways that we couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago.
Expect speech recognition software to only continue to grow as technology improves. The software is making fewer mistakes when carrying out our commands and recognizing speech. Cortana can already predict the outcome of sports games.Google Now can start up just by saying “OK, Google”. And Siri — well, why donâ€™t you ask her why firetrucks are red to what she’s up to.
The point is, voice recognition has impacted our lives. You may not feel it now, but its influence will only continue to grow and develop.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes about technology and other gadgets and gizmos aplenty. She currently writes for Total Voice Tech, her go to for all professional Dragon products.