Way back in the early days of voice recognition, here’s a sample dictation session with my 1997 version of Dragon Naturally Speaking.
I say: “I want a cupcake.”
Dragon writes: “The man picked up the rake.”
I say: “Delete that.”
Dragon writes: “Deplete cats.”
I say: “CHANGE THAT!”
Dragon writes: “Change bats.”
I scream: “STOP IT!”
Dragon writes: “You started it.”
Lordy but I hated that blankety-blank program.
Flash forward more than a quarter of a century, and speech recognition is almost effortless, both on your computers and your mobile devices.
I don’t think I could live without Siri, a pleasantly perky voice recognition system built into the iPhone. You can speak to Siri as if she’s a personal assistant or even a friend, and she translates commands and questions into actions easily and with amazing accuracy.
Siri has a number of competitors for many mobile platforms, all with their own specialties and weaknesses. On Android devices, the top personal assistant tools are Maluuba, Skyvi and the EVA/EVAN “twin” apps so you can choose a male or female personality.
Five Ways I Use Siri
- Magnificent Multitasking
While I’m setting up a room before a presentation, I can plow through a few emails by dictating as I walk around.
- Safe Texting
When I’m driving, I can send a quick text message using hands-free technology and Siri.
- Husband Pleasing
My poor husband has to leave his favorite football games to pick me up at the airport. I simply ask Siri to tell me the score, and D.J. is happy(ish).
- Quick Calculating
Siri often serves as my calculator when it’s too much of a pain to open the calculator app, or, heaven forbid, I try to do the math myself.
- Weather Reporting
When I’m packing my bags for a speaking engagement, I’ll ask Siri for the weather report for the next city.