“Alexa and Google Duplex are not perfect but so are humans, only difference is, Alexa and Duplex are making great strides forward”
During the years 2008-11 I had worked at a healthcare IT company that used Automated Speech Recognition (ASR), Speech-to-Text (STT) and Text-to-Speech (TTS) software to automate collecting insurance information from members on behalf of health insurance companies in the US e.g. Blue Cross, United.
Speaking to technology, as if you are chatting with a human, has been the holy-grail of digital user interface design and I believe we are in the golden age of speech recognition.
Speech recognition will become so ubiquitous that we wouldn’t have to type to chat with friends and family, in any language, or speak to an automated voice assistant that doesn’t understand what you are saying even after repeating 5 times. We would never have to fumble through many similar looking buttons on your TV remote to watch the show you want to watch, from any streaming app. It will be accomplished by a simple voice command, as if summoning a human assistant to find and play the show from Netflix for you.
Alexa And Duplex Are Not Perfect But So Are Humans
In 2017, when I spoke to my Alexa at home in Telugu (my mother tongue), it was missing what I said 9 out of 10 times but now in 2019 it’s already faring a lot better, magic of NLP in the cloud. I’d say it’s still far from perfect but not 1 out of 10, may be a 5!
Typing in non-english language into your iMessage or WhatsApp requires installing a language keyboard, finding several key combinations to type a single word, it’s not easy. Imagine simply speaking to the chat bot and it types the text in a language of your choice effortlessly. Imagine being able to communicate with a tourist in english while she sees text on her phone in her language instantly. It’s already possible to a large extent, with assistants like Google Duplex we are well on our way to this “utopian” world where language is not a barrier to communication any more.
Here is the sample google duplex making a call to reserve a spot at a hair salon, not bad ha?