Today Microsoft revealed the Xbox One. One of the “features” is the fact that it is always listening. You can walk into the room where your Xbox One is and say “Xbox on” and it will wake up. I am beginning to believe that most engineers that work for these large companies do not have families. We have been on this trend of “Natural User Interface”. Which has been a combination of touch and speech. I can totally agree with touch but speech brings some major complications when you have four kids. As my kids get older they catch on more and more. Since we have not went down the path of having the speech component actually recognize specific voices yet this causes a problem.
Let me give you a scenario. I voice activate one of my dozen technology devices and a kid screams in the background “delete delete delete yes yes yes”. Well there went that family album we had. Voice only works if you are in very quiet locations. Apparently no one has been at my house for a while.
I think we need to think of what natural really is. Natural to me is not speaking to my computer. Sure it looks awesome in Star Trek but in real life we all look like we have some mental disorder. “Hello Siri how you been?”.
Now on the other hand speech is very important to my wife who does not like to type. She uses it on her Android phone all the time. Last week her phone got in a state where she couldn’t talk to it anymore nor talk on the phone. It became useless not because of making phone calls but because it is the primary way she interacts with her device.
Speech has it’s place we just have to think about those times and places where it doesn’t work so well, at least in its current state.