For many of us, our first experience with speech recognition technology was a frustrating exchange with an automated telephone system that seemed incapable of understanding what department we wished to be connected to. Speech recognition has come a long way in the past few years and has made its way into the daily lives of anyone with a smart phone – true, Siri and other mobile assistants sometimes misunderstand what we are saying with often humorous results, but in general speech recognition technology is able to understand and act on much of what we say, even taking accents and regional dialects into account. The technology is so sophisticated that, along with audio dictation software, it is becoming commonly used in traditionally “dictation-heavy” professions – for example, specialized audio dictation software is now often used by legal firms to save huge amounts of time otherwise spent on transcribing massive amounts of text. In addition to increased productivity, there are some other great things about speech recognition technology.
It frees us from our desks
One of the greatest benefits of audio dictation and speech recognition technology is that we are finally able to break away from our desks in order to get work done. True, mobile technology has made it possible to accomplish many tasks “on-the-go,” but there are limits to what we can do away from the desk – anyone who has tried to compose a lengthy email on a mobile phone understands this well. Audio dictation technology breaks the tether and allows us to work more fully outside of the office by allow us to dictate in the car, on a walk, or while doing other tasks. Moreover, this also means less time sitting – a known health hazard.
It improves accessibility
While speech control of computers and mobile devices has for a number of years provided accessibility for people who are unable to use a keyboard, the refinement of speech recognition technology allows people with limited mobility to have an independent ability to get their words onto (digital) paper. Being released from the keyboard as a primary input device also helps to prevent the development or aggravation of repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
It enhances security
While passwords go some distance towards security our information and devices, voice recognition allows for a greater level of security in that, as with fingerprints, no two voices are the same.
It enhances creativity
Especially for people who write for a living, there are benefits that come with being able to capture stream of consciousness ideas or thoughts as they come without having to impose order on them for the purpose of typing them on a keyboard. It also allows people to explore tangents in creative or more technical writing without investing a significant amount of time in the writing.