Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Apr 1 2009   12:51AM GMT

Natural Language Interfaces

Brien Posey Brien Posey Profile: Brien Posey

I was thinking about my recent blog posts about the Windows 7 touch interface, and about other ways of interacting with a computer. I seem to recall attending a Bill Gates key note a few years ago, in which he said that he was surprised that natural language had not evolved more as a computer interface.

Vista has a speech recognition engine built into it, but I have never actually used it. I do however regularly use Dragon Naturally Speaking. I have experimented with speech recognition off and on since about 1995. As far as hard core dictating goes, it only really became practical a few years ago. Naturally Speaking version 8 was the first version that I considered to be half way decent. The current version is 10.0, and as long as you have the necessary hardware and you spend enough time training the application, it works really well. In fact, I dictate most of the stuff that I write.

So am I dictating right now? No, but I wish that I were.

I live in the south, and everything is in bloom right now. There is so much pollen that my drive way and my patio literally look as if someone spilled yellow paint on them. As you have probably already guessed, my allergies are going haywire. When I try to dictate, I end up sounding something like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and that doesn’t work very well for speech recognition. I guess that is just one problem that technology has yet to solve.

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