By Karl Arnold Belser
23 September 2015

I am visually impaired, and as a consequence I have considerable difficulty using the Graphical User Interface (GUI) of most computer operating systems.

An article on AccelerationWatch called The Conversational Interface By John Smart got my attention as the possible solution to my problems. This article describes how a smart phone like device might evolve into a personal digital assistant that is always by one's side, or even a symbiotic extension of one's self. This article describes future potentials, but the near term possibilities are given by Wired in Beyond the GUI and the Wikipedia article on the Voice User Interface.

I have played with Apple' SIRI, which works quite well for simple requests, but I am not ready to pay the price for owning an iPhone. I own an Android 4.4 smart phone onto which I installed Google Now. I found that neither system worked well enough to replace what I can do on a GUI with as text to speech converter.

Microsoft  and Amazon are also developing VUI products Cortana  and ECHO respectively. The ECHO has only a microphone and speaker to interface with people. I have tried neither device.

The issue is not speech recognition, which I think works well. The problem is interpreting what is spoken. This is Natural Language Processing. I feel confident that one of the certain futures is that human beings will get intelligence amplification and possibly man machine symbiosis. I am afraid that I am old enough that I may miss this revolution.
Last updated September 23, 2015
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