smart and simple

note: link repaired One of several gems from Dennis Boyle , senior designer at Ideo. Boyle says speech […]

note: link repaired

One of several gems from Dennis Boyle , senior designer at Ideo.

Boyle says speech recognition won’t become ubiquitous: “It’s possible, but it may not be socially acceptable or private enough. If you’re in a meeting, for instance, you might not be able to say what you want freely. On a plane, your neighbor won’t want you to be talking to your computer.”

Can is not should… an often forgotten maxim.


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  1. 1
    James Buckley

    I think subvocalizing (those gizmos they use on commando movies that attach to the
    neck and register the vocal cords’ vibration) will be the real future of voice recognition. This would be a much harder goal to achieve as it completely changes the method of word detection, but it makes a hell of alot more sense.

  2. 2

    just because vrecognition is built in doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time, does it? my phone has voice dial, but if it’s inconvenient, i can use the keypad.

    options don’t require use.

  3. 3
    Jared Spool

    I guess I always have trouble with the word “ubiquitous”. I think we think there is more technological ubiquity than there really exists in the world.

    Phones are ubiquitous. They are in every room. On many airplanes, they are at every seat. People carry them in their pockets, on their belts, in their bags.

    Most other technology is not ubiquitous. Laptops aren’t. While I’ll see a dozen or so on an airplane, out of 140 passengers, that’s not very many at all.

    Of course, ubiquity is contextual. Go to central Africa and you can easily draw dozens of hundred-mile radius circles that contain no phones. In fact, 2/3rds of the world’s population has yet to make their first phone call.

    If Mr. Boyle had said “popular” instead of ubiquitous, I might’ve found his statement outrageous. But I can’t imagine ubuquitous voice recognition or voice control of devices without first seeing the devices themselves becoming ubiquitous, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.


    p.s. I noticed that when I click on his name, I go back to the homepage. Is that what you intended?

    p.p.s. spell check is gone. 🙁 Oh well, back to relying purely on my education.

  4. 4


    if one takes his meaning of ‘ubiquitous’ the way you have, then why is what he’s saying in the least bit interesting? he’s positing something that no one would ever argue with.

    also, before i think i should have formulated my last line like this:

    able does not mean must.

    or something like that.

  5. 6

    so you see my point? using context clues, he apparently means ubiquitous in some more meaningful context here? ubiquitous – for instance – among people using computers? it isn’t a matter of using a definition of the word that doesn’t appear in the dictionary, its using reasonable care to understand the context.

  6. 7
    Jared Spool

    Certainly. I understand what you mean. And I agree with your assesment that able doesn’t mean must.

    However, the problems with speech recognition having nothing to do with ubiquity. Just as a single cell phone ringing in a quiet moment during the symphony will change the moment for hundreds of people, a single vr moment in the wrong context will provide some sort of humiliation or embarassment.

    Just recently, I was sitting on an airplane listening to someone talking on the phone and realized that privacy is a responsibility. What one does in seclusion does not naturally extend to public behavior.

    This is a learned behavior. My children, when very little, would scratch places they never would scratch when older. They learned what was acceptable and what wasn’t.

    Voice recognition suffers from a social adaption problem. But it has nothing to do with ubiquity. In fact, ubiquity, if it were to happen, would be a demonstration that we learned how to adapt.

    My $0.02.


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