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Consonants Not Required

michael posted about 13 years ago | from the ruh-roh-shaggy dept.

News 139

billybob2001 writes: "A report at the BBC explains how voice-control of computers can be more successful using grunts and sighs, as "voice recognition programs often failed to accurately capture words". Dr Takeo Igarashi, of Brown University suggests the use of "ahhhh" for skipping tracks on a cd, or adjusting tv volume, but I wonder what the effect would be on pr0n sites? Another suggestion is "uh oh" for undo. Perfect for online banking. Is this going to confuse your system or what?"

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Undo command (5, Funny)

Shafalus (181224) | about 13 years ago | (#2446057)

Surely "Ah, shit!" is the obvious choice for an undo command?

Dangerous, surely? (2)

iainl (136759) | about 13 years ago | (#2446077)

Surely this could really backfire. I'm just finishing up an important document, perhaps having a significant section of text highlighted as I move paragraphs around.

"Sorry, I couldn't get that disc you were after today" says a collegue.

"Ah, shit!". Oops, there goes a bunch of your document. Don't swear, though, or you'll lose it from the undo buffer as well!

Re:Dangerous, surely? (3, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | about 13 years ago | (#2446266)

Be careful with this!
I can just see it now. You are recounting a traffic accident to a college:

You: "I rammed a sheriff!"
Computer: "Executing: rm -(dash)rf"

Re:Dangerous, surely? (1)

ThatComputerGuy (123712) | about 13 years ago | (#2446783)

And what happens when I try to play Run DMC's "Ahhh"?

Re:Undo command (2)

JJ (29711) | about 13 years ago | (#2446084)

I think that would be more appropriate as a full "Mission abort!" or "Disconnect." command.

Re:Undo command - another possibility (5, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 13 years ago | (#2446093)


right on (2)

unformed (225214) | about 13 years ago | (#2446163)

and they should also have a hammer that beats the shit of the computer whenever you say "Motherfucker!"

or a little lesser violence with lesser curses. For example "Fucking A!" will just BSOD. Hey the irony itself would be funny...

Re:Undo command (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446170)

Ok, now suppose you're dictating to your pda or laptop, while sitting on a automated toilet.

Re:Undo command (1)

posmon (516207) | about 13 years ago | (#2446220)


(+1 - insightful)

Re:Undo command (2)

FortKnox (169099) | about 13 years ago | (#2446374)

No... that's the window command for "reboot".

So many applications.. (0)

heyitsme (472683) | about 13 years ago | (#2446060)

What would the computer do if you moaned? Show more porn?


Re:So many applications.. (1)

gazbo (517111) | about 13 years ago | (#2446107)

Imagine how easy it would be to write code [] using this?

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446061)

turd post!

Re:First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446069)

turd indeed.

Great use in showers! (2, Funny)

ymgve (457563) | about 13 years ago | (#2446064)

Now, whenever you yell you YIEEEE! in a shower because the water is too hot or cold, it will immediatly switch to a more pleasant temperature!

Re:Great use in showers! (2)

HiQ (159108) | about 13 years ago | (#2446264)

And that would be hotter or colder? That must be one hell of a clever shower to decide on one and the same yell if you mean "too hot" or "too cold". Knowing the state of most household technololgy, when you yell "YIEEEE" (too hot), your shower will undoubtedly give you hotter water, after which you can peel your skin right of you're back.

Re:Great use in showers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446413)

Well, when you yell YIEEE, the shower would of course adjust the temperature towards some predefined temperature, perhaps around 25degC.

Re:Great use in showers! (2)

Magumbo (414471) | about 13 years ago | (#2446357)

Well the best solution to this is to get rid of your giant water heater and replace it with one of the flash heaters with a digital temperature
control. These are really common in Japan and Hong Kong (surely elsewhere too). They are more economical, give you water heated to your desired temperature almost instantly, and you never run out of perfectly heated water.

Help Desk (5, Insightful)

well_jung (462688) | about 13 years ago | (#2446066)

Anyone that's worked at a Help Desk should know that Users have been trying this for years.

Ooooh (1)

Red Avenger (197064) | about 13 years ago | (#2446070)

More reasons to talk dirty to my sexy computer. Now if only I could get Carmen Electra's talking back to me...

I can see it now... (1)

webcrafter (175) | about 13 years ago | (#2446071)

Tarzan producing a buffer overflow. How long before a script kiddie rips its yell into an mp3?

Damn that little gimp (0, Flamebait)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | about 13 years ago | (#2446072)

Surely this is another one of Hawkings ideas. First space colonization, now he doesn't want to use his little mouth pen..


Well no shit. (2, Funny)

BiggestPOS (139071) | about 13 years ago | (#2446073)

But this isn't what I dream about doing on the bridge of the Enterprise D. Instead of saying "Computer, Tea, Early Grey, Hot" I'd say something like "Oooh, Ahhhh, Grrrr"

I dont think so.

Re:Well no shit. (2)

zephc (225327) | about 13 years ago | (#2446126)

more like
ooo-errr! eee! errr aeee! ahhh!

Re:Well no shit. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446133)

What I dream about doing on the bridge of the Enterprise D involves Dr. Crusher, Counselor Troi, Ensign Robin Lefler, and a kiddie pool full of Wesson oil. I'd say something like "Oooh, Ahhhh, Grrrr" too.

Earl Grey tea indeed. Bah!

Multiple undo (0, Redundant)

iforgotmyfirstlogon (468382) | about 13 years ago | (#2446075)

Can I make it undo accidentally saving over my only good copy of something when I say:

"God ... dammit ... AWWW HELLLLL!!!!"

- Freed

Know who could be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446080)

their spokesperson?

Mayor Quimby! Who's he based on again? Jimmy Stewart or someone?


Re:Know who could be... (2)

geomcbay (263540) | about 13 years ago | (#2446250)

The voice is meant to be a generic "Kennedy"/Hyannis accent. But the character is modelled after many politicians, real and imaginary.

Now we'll really sound like monkeys (1)

bayduv1n (196505) | about 13 years ago | (#2446082)

Can you imagine the office environment... OU, OU, OU, EE, EE, EE!!

Won't work for social reasons (1)

Alrocket (191107) | about 13 years ago | (#2446085)

Like the article says, it'd be impossible to get people to use that in the office... I certainly wouldn't.

As well as that, if this did take off, can you imagine the implications for language: grunts, moans and sighs would become ubiquitous in everyday conversation... :)


Damn Computer . . . (1)

Red Avenger (197064) | about 13 years ago | (#2446086)

When your computer starts taking verbal abuse it should turn itself off. That way you when you rip the bugger out of the wall you won't have to fsck the hard disk once you calm down.

Voice controlling a computer sucks. (1)

Gummbah (72706) | about 13 years ago | (#2446090)

It just does. Who the hell wants to talk to their computer anyway? What we need is a direct neural interface. Oh yeah baby..

Self Destruct (3, Funny)

stinkydog (191778) | about 13 years ago | (#2446099)

Just don't say Mua'dib or the computer explodes.

-He has the weirding way.

If the speakers are aimed at you (2)

wiredog (43288) | about 13 years ago | (#2446117)

Then you explode.

This assumes you are talking about the Muad Dib in the movie, and not the one in the book. All that weirding module stuff isn't in the book. The "weirding way" is basically Super Ninja fighting techniques. Paul was taught by Jessica.

It's cute, but... (5, Interesting)

d5w (513456) | about 13 years ago | (#2446100)

The computer can't distinguish words easily, so we'll give you a potentially much smaller vocabulary and see if it does better? Of course it'll do better, whether or not that smaller vocabulary contains consonants.

What I'd worry about is whether these unarticulated sounds sound more like background noise than articulated speech; if so, then you've made the situation worse by making it harder for the computer to know when you're talking to it.

On "uh oh": Dragon Dictate (discrete speech recognition from a few years ago) used "oops" for telling the SR system when it made a mistake; it was reasonably easy to distinguish from words that you actually wanted to put into your text with any frequency.

Just so you know... (2)

tswinzig (210999) | about 13 years ago | (#2446105)

The letter 'h' is a consonant.

Re:Just so you know... (1)

billybob2001 (234675) | about 13 years ago | (#2446150)

I concede that point graciously, although it is, in this case, silent.

Like the p in bathing.

Wrong. (2, Informative)

Haeleth (414428) | about 13 years ago | (#2446380)

The letter 'h' is a letter, which is sometimes used to represent the sound [h], sometimes other sounds, and sometimes is silent.

The sound [h] is usually considered a consonant.

Actually... (1)

Scoria (264473) | about 13 years ago | (#2446111)

It could be "Ahhhhhh! Uh-oh!" for some people, seeing as how they've just made their keyboard a little more, eh, dirty.

Combine this with biofeedback (1)

N3P1u5U17r4 (457760) | about 13 years ago | (#2446113)

Maybe if they combined this grunt recognition system with some kind of brain-wave recognition system we could have something. We could all revert to being neadrathals.

Re:Combine this with biofeedback (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446151)

you mean neanderthals?

Re:Combine this with biofeedback (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446188)

We could all revert to being "neadrathals" huh?
Ohhh, you mean "neanderthals". Somehow I think you're already there partner. :)

No, this is serious academic research! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446115)

Seriously. I have colleagues that work on this type of thing:

"Sound Symbolism in Conversational Grunts in English"
"The Challenge of Non-lexical Speech Sounds"
"Issues in the Transcription of English Conversational Grunts" ns.html []

Tim Allen will love this (3, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | about 13 years ago | (#2446120)

Of course, many have said that the GUI is a "caveman interface" - point and grunt, err, click.

This really strikes me as the verbal equivelent of Palm's Grafitti - if normal interactions (printing/speaking) is too hard, make a simplified interface (Grafitti/grunting) that isn't.

I don't know, but I already learned one interface (typing) to make my computer's life easier. Why should I do all the work?

Typing vs. speech (1)

d5w (513456) | about 13 years ago | (#2446177)

I don't know, but I already learned one interface (typing) to make my computer's life easier. Why should I do all the work?
This is probably the single biggest problem that large-vocabulary speech recognition had and has in getting adopted, even where it's a good fit: it requires you to learn to use it rather than "just talking". Some people say "I already learned one interface..." Even more have simply forgotten how long it took them to get comfortable with a keyboard and compare the pain of a new interface to the habit of years.

Any new interface requires some accomodation from the user.

Re:Typing vs. speech (3, Interesting)

Asic Eng (193332) | about 13 years ago | (#2446351)

Any new interface requires some accomodation from the user.

Ok, that sounds fair, but I guess you'd want to have some sort of benefit after you invest your time?

I just don't see this sort of interface to catch on for standard applications. I mean - imagine you are in an office with 20 people grunting at their computers, the noise they make is just going to be unbearable. That's got to be worse than that annoying guy who's checking his voicemail via speaker phone. *shudder*

From the article:

By increasing the pitch of your voice, the scrolling speed increases. When you stop speaking, the scrolling ends.

Can you imagine sitting next to a guy who uses this, and not have a headache after 10 mins?

Re:Tim Allen will love this (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 13 years ago | (#2446309)

Perhaps in the future we'll all:

Type in soundbites (thanks to email)
Write like small children (thanks to Palm, emoticons)
Speak like cavemen (thanks to voice recognition)
Observe like small, hyper monkeys (thanks to television)

...and eventually regress to thinking like Neanderthals

Re:Tim Allen will love this (2)

bay43270 (267213) | about 13 years ago | (#2446636)

I don't know, but I already learned one interface (typing) to make my computer's life easier. Why should I do all the work? Exactly! Wasn't the whole point of voice recognition to make computers interact with humans the same way we interact with each other? Lets be realistic... the reason Palm uses Graffiti is because the keyboard was too small to use... not because it recognizes handwriting so well. Graffiti does not satisfy the goals of handwriting recognition, and this technology does not satisfy the goals of voice recognition.

I know what I want ... (2, Insightful)

HiQ (159108) | about 13 years ago | (#2446124)

I don't believe in the necessity of a voice operated computer. At the risk of reopening a very old discussion, a good command line will do better in most cases. It takes far less time (for a skilled person) to use a command than to explain the desired action in 'normal' language to a computer. I mean 'rm -r /*' is typed in a lot faster than saying: "Go to the root directory and delete every file, including all subdirectories".

Re:I know what I want ... (1)

rednuhter (516649) | about 13 years ago | (#2446230)

-fr or -rf all or nothing !

Re:I know what I want ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446252)

How did this get modded 'insightful', when really it should be 'Funny'?

Maybe it would be easier to have the speech recog accept, "Wipe my drive, please?"

Seriously, command lines *are* faster to use ... but it would be nice if *everyone* could use a computer effectively ...

Re:I know what I want ... (-1)

Dead Penis Bird (524912) | about 13 years ago | (#2446262)

Don't sweat the small stuff. It got modded up, anyway.

Besides, a lot of humor is based on insight into the situation.

I think most will metamod as "Fair" and move on.

Re:I know what I want ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446468)

But is it faster than saying 'Rmh Dasharr Slashstar'?

Well, yes probably in most cases.

In Related News, Code Sex Virus Released (2)

Myriad (89793) | about 13 years ago | (#2446125)

In related news, police have closed in on a suspect believed to be responsible for creating the Code Sex virus that crippled thousands of systems across the net last week.

When asked about the virus the unidentified man responded "It's not my fault! I didn't to it intentionally. All I was doing was surfing my favorite pr0n sites and, well, you know, enjoying myself, when all these windows started popping up! At first I thought it was the usual spam trick - but no, this code just started appearing everywhere. It just sort of created itself... really! You've gotta believe me!"

The investigation continues.

oooll rite (1)

Insipid Trunculance (526362) | about 13 years ago | (#2446130) i get a scientific basis/reason for my misprounciation,mangling of grammar,absolutely incorrect spellings and other atrocities.

In other words i acn now sodomize Queen's english with scientific approval!!

Ooo...eee.. (2, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | about 13 years ago | (#2446132)

"Ooo eee ooo ah ah, ting tang walla walla, bing bang"

A line from "The Witch Doctor" by David Seville or voice command to shutdown Windows? Decide for yourself by playing it for your voice recognition software.

Re:Ooo...eee.. (3, Funny)

wirefarm (18470) | about 13 years ago | (#2446285)

"Ooo eee ooo ah ah, ting tang walla walla, bing bang"

The verbal equivalent of perl?

Jim in Tokyo

mics (1, Troll)

zephc (225327) | about 13 years ago | (#2446139)

i dont know if its how it is done now, but why isnt there a single-button that you press that would activate the mic to accept voice commands, and maybe a second to input text... its not totally hands free, but if Stephen Hawking could talk, even HE could use it :P

singing ditties for commands (3, Funny)

peter303 (12292) | about 13 years ago | (#2446140)

Its easier to recognize tonal changes than constanants. Its easier for humns to use full words than isolated vowels.

With apologies to St. Paul... (0, Troll)

PeterClark (324270) | about 13 years ago | (#2446143)

In the same way, the Computer helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to ask for, but the Computer itself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

(See Romans 8:25-27 for original.)

Well, I thought it was funny. :)


Not particularly useful... (2, Funny)

-dsr- (6188) | about 13 years ago | (#2446144)

I spent the last ten minutes with a bad case of the hiccups. What do you think that would have done to my weekly report?

Why?? (0, Troll)

Doug Neal (195160) | about 13 years ago | (#2446147)

OK, speech recognition software is cool, but really, is it such a good interface for a computer? Surely a pointing device and a keyboard are the best human interfaces for the traditional GUI. I tried a speech control program once, where you have to say stuff like "up" and "down" to control the mouse pointer. Or you say "mail" to check your email. And I must say, i found it quite infuriating and slow and completely counterintuitive. A mouse is a much better interface.

The only real practical use I can see for speech recognition is for word processing - believe it or not some people still like to dictate their letters into tapes and give them to a typist, they don't like working with a keyboard. But, controlling your PC with grunts and moans? Come off it! As well as being a really backwards idea for an interface, I know I'd feel damn stupid grunting and moaning at my PC. Especially in public. Wouldn't you? ;P

Re:Why?? (2)

demaria (122790) | about 13 years ago | (#2446186)

Well for general purpose operating systems like windows, linux, mac this isn't as great. In the current GUI model keyboard and mouse are superior. Perhaps if someone invents a voice controlled GUI (maybe with integrated touch screen or some sort) then you could, but the current GUIs aren't built for voice control.

There are other applications though. For example, a car radio. Why press the buttons to find radio stations if you could tell the car "tune 95.3". It has applications on a telephone menuing system.

But don't underestimate dictation software. There are lots of advantages of dictation. It lets you 'type' faster (assuming it's good software and you train it), and people who are disabled or have injury (broken wrist, carpal tunnel) really need it.

Re:Why?? (0)

steevc (54110) | about 13 years ago | (#2446243)

I believe Jaguar already have a voice activated radio/telephone in their latest models.

Must be some clever programming to distinguish the driver from the radio sound. What if the presenter says 'and now for something louder'?

I used a voice recognition system at Texas Instruments in about 1984. It cam on a full length ISA card which slotted neatly into the 40lb 'portable' computer I was using (5" colour CRT). I felt pretty foolish talking to the computer in an office.

The uh-oh reminds me of the definition of an ohnosecond as the time between making a mistake and realising you'd done it.


Re:Why?? (2)

HiQ (159108) | about 13 years ago | (#2446360)

Hmmm, if you owned radiostation 95.3, all it would take is to buy some advertising time on other radiostations, and just say 'tune 95.3'. Could have some serious fun with that..

Ahhhh (3, Funny)

garoush (111257) | about 13 years ago | (#2446157)

Now there is a whole new meaning to "Yada, yada, yada, ..."

Coming soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446165)

Women are dangerously close to being made irrelevant. First the weepy, whiney car and now this - a control system that *understands* our grunts and growls.

Uhhh ......... don't bother me I'm tired

Grrr ......... no I don't want to talk about our relationship

Mhhh ......... where's my tea?

FindSound didn't find (1)

skinnymofo (211149) | about 13 years ago | (#2446166)

For a while now, I've been looking for a certain sound from Cartoon Network, but no one seems to have it. Any suggestions?
The sound I'm looking for is from the Toonami segue to/from commercials, right after the beat stops there is this whistle like sound (I'd imitate it, but something tells me that wouldn't work). I'm looking for that whistle like sound, so if anybody knows where I might find respond to this comment.

Re:FindSound didn't find (1)

radja (58949) | about 13 years ago | (#2446206)

1) run wire from TV headphone out to soundcard
2) record sequence with whistle in it to wav
3) cut off what you don't need

No I dont have it, but I used to do this to get certain song-samples.. some 10 years ago..


Technology Devolves Humans (2, Funny)

scorp1us (235526) | about 13 years ago | (#2446167)

After 30,000 years of having good comminucation skills, humans' finally revert to pre-historic communications skills. Their technology is responsible for thier de-cevilization. It seems a computer interface consisting of only grunts and primitive sounds was selected for windowsXP, and as a result the entire human vocabulary has reverted back to pre-historic roots.

Bill gates said "We are proud to be responsible for the conversion to a much easier language. While XML can organize our data better, we needed a common language for human interaction. Leveraging our power on the desktop, we we able to achive this." When asked about how aliens might perceive our change of language, Gates repsonded "I'm sure that they will appreciate the simplicity more. I mean, who ever liked French and all of it's eligance anyway?"

Grunt snort grr grr.

Trying so hard (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446187)

Ugh... this stuff is painful to read.

Slashcrowd trying so hard to be funny. Oh the humanity!

That's a nice voice recognition program...... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446193)

.......for me to POOP on!

Don't Sneeze! (1)

Mac Nazgul (196332) | about 13 years ago | (#2446200)


Computer reboots...

Snowcrash? (0)

Ieshan (409693) | about 13 years ago | (#2446201)

Has anyone read 'Snowcrash'? One of the characters has a car-plane-automated-mobile that works this way, he has to make odd sounds to make it move. Claims it doesn't interfere with his normal conversation too much, and that he can do it without thinking after a little practice.

Re:Snowcrash? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446237)

That's a nice idea...
... for me to POOP on!

If you are thinking about the same book as I am then it is all fiction so he might "Claims it doesn't interfere with his normal conversation too much".
But that is not too hard to get to work when it is all MADE UP.

Welcome to the real world......

Okay for now.. (1)

jimmyCarter (56088) | about 13 years ago | (#2446209)

This is nothing more than a bridge or a quick fix until full "get your word-on recognition" is in place. Kind of like learning a keyboard until you can talk to your machine...

.e.., (1)

The God Soldier (517409) | about 13 years ago | (#2446210)

I ..i.. ..a. ..i. i. a .a.u.a. .a. .o .o..u.i.a.e

.oo. e.e...o.. .i.. .e .a..i.. .i.e ..i.!

Whistle of Command (1)

SEWilco (27983) | about 13 years ago | (#2446217)

About 20 years ago, a whistling code for robot control was suggested.

It's pretty easy to detect several frequencies of whistles, so command can be made from sequences of whistling. It was pointed out that high-low sequences would be easiest (rather than combinations of 3 or more tones), as individual people could use what was high-low tones for them rather than trying to train humans to have better pitch control.

Re:Whistle of Command (2)

HiQ (159108) | about 13 years ago | (#2446329)

I can picture myself working behind my computer, eating cookies (or whatever), and giving the computer a whistled command, and getting up to get of box of tissues to wipe the wet crumbs of my screen. I really don't think it will work...

Oook! (2)

JimPooley (150814) | about 13 years ago | (#2446222)

Just whatever you do, do NOT take your computer to the monkey house. It'll probably self-destruct!

Time for Tellytubbies! (2, Funny)

iapetus (24050) | about 13 years ago | (#2446235)

Over the hills and far away, Teletubbies come to hack!


Uh-ehn! Uh-ehn!

Time for tubby shutdown...


Speakable Items (1)

Voidhobo (219337) | about 13 years ago | (#2446240)

Apple's OS9 has had an extension called Speakable Items which is fun to play with ("Open file... I said 'Open file!' dangit!") but far from useful.

It's just the next step in making the usage of a computer more "user friendly" and thereby utterly inefficient. Typing vi kane/rosebud.text is so much faster than double-clicking on the folder kane and then on the file rosebud.text, and by far faster than saying "Show Speakable commands. Open folder Kane. Open folder Kane. Open folder Kane. Finally! Open file Rosebud dot text. Open file Rosebud dot text. Open file Rosebud period text..." Now, if you don't even use real language but only grunts, it becomes even worse. Talking about "Disneyfication" [] ! Or rather, alienation of the work process [] .

nature sounds? (1)

metalhed77 (250273) | about 13 years ago | (#2446241)

would playing a recording of ambient jungle sounds (monkeys grunting) could your system be h4x0r3d by the l337 5K|113d /\/\0nK3yz

Bad idea from a linguistic standpoint (5, Interesting)

dasmegabyte (267018) | about 13 years ago | (#2446265)

Asking people to use another language when dealing with machines -- especially one that's more visceral -- is just asking for trouble. Already computers are seriously affecting the ability of humans to communicate orally, by concentrating the language into short bursts used during chats we lose the particles of sentences that help establish context in speech (yes, there is a reason for "the" and "a"). Besides, here's an oppurtunity to elleviate a lot of the bad habits that make dialectic English so tough to understand for those outside the dialect: set the machines to understand one sort of English, so that everybody has to speak at least that type along with their colloquial speech. Of course, there's always the possibility for eugenic practices with this, so my proposal is this: teach the computer the differences between the 8 vowel sounds used by people in Colorado, where pretty much every vowel approaches the schwa (the schwa being the neutral position for the human vocal system and therefore easiest to pronounce). After a while, people will realise that to be successful at using voice activated systems, they'll need to adjust their inflection, and after a while will adjust it automatically when dealing with people who don't understand them, either.

But voice activated systems are stupid, anyway...speech is one of the slowest forms of human interaction, and is one of the few we have to actively concentrate on to perform. You know when people say, "Think before you speak?" That's because once you start speaking a large portion of your brain activity is devoted to doing actually becomes harder to think about what to say next. Pressing a button or turning a dial takes practically no thought...which is another reason why a speech written in spontaneous draft still sounds better than one that is spoken aloud. If we convert machines to speach recognition, we're effectively asking people to interact with them in dumber ways. And can you imagine the logic involved with processing a fairly simple statement like "This check in my hand should be processed by you and in return i'd like fifty bucks in tens and ten one dollar bills." Since the command isn't linear, the machine not only has to recognize what each word means, but try and interpret them in queue. And if humans can't construct complicated sentences like the one above -- which any human over the age of about 4 can understand, before that kids can't identify the subject and object in complex sentences -- they'll be inconvenienced by speaking machines. Oh and for a simpler example, try this: "My pin number? 376 uhhhhhh...Forty-two it six? no. Eight?...oh! oh! sixty eight!" A human can understand that...we'd be annoyed, but we'd get it.

Re:Bad idea from a linguistic standpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446446)

Learn how to spell "alleviate" and then you can get all preachy about the English language.

Re:Bad idea from a linguistic standpoint (2)

dasmegabyte (267018) | about 13 years ago | (#2446648)

Well, despite five years of studies in rhetorical science I can still spell "fuck off."

Background noises deleted my HDD! (4, Interesting)

glebite (206150) | about 13 years ago | (#2446281)

How selective would the speech recognition be? If I was playing musing on that computer, would the computer pick up the tones coming in and start "doing stuff(tm)" on my computer? What about background noises? My friend's Jello Biafra spoken word CDs?

I won't even go there with my Saturday Morning Cartoon CD - Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (This means mail all of my friends a copy of my resume)...

What I would do... (2)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 13 years ago | (#2446284)

just for the heck of it, is interface the voice synthesis output of one computer to the voice recognition interface of another and start a transfer of a large text file just to see how long it takes and how accurate it is. I might get about 10-20 bps thru phone line.

If they start standardizing on a vowel command system and people overcome the embarassment of using it, how long before SharperImage starts selling little boxes that make the same sounds at the push of a button, to, you know, make life even better?

We need a new language(s) (1)

nickol (208154) | about 13 years ago | (#2446291)

Yea! Umm! Zhkxw! Fwpfpfuuu!
We have already mangled the natural language and
created a bunch of programming languages.
Now this new effort requires standardization.
Just imagine the video tape learning new voice features of Windows 2XXX !
Open file - Off!
Close file - Buff!
Save file - Grm!Grm!

Imagine teachers telling students how to
properly pronounce the "Set preferences" (PfGfGrrf!)

Imagine "holy wars" between adherents of
MicroQuack(tm) and FreeGrunt(GPL).

That's our future.

PS. Don't forget international sighs !

Tuki Tuki Bird Must Stay Home. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446295)

I guess this means my Tuki Tuki bird will have to stay home.
(Ah Ah eh eh Tu Kee Tu Kee) Meaning: Remove your user ID from network and format your Hard Drive.

This is what lojban is for. (1)

lambsonic (512680) | about 13 years ago | (#2446303)

Lojban is designed to be used by people in communication with each other, and possibly in the future with computers. []

Don't wait until Microsoft releases their version.

Just speak in Spanish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446321)

Spanish has lots of vowels in its pronunciation.
The president speaks it,too...

It's all phonetics (1)

dodongo (412749) | about 13 years ago | (#2446340)

What they're not saying here explicitly is that they still haven't come up with a waveform recognition / microphone setup that they can implement in "normal" usage situations, and still have it recognize consonants with voice and without. The voiced plosive "b" and the voiceless plosive "p", for example, just sound too damn alike.

I think rather than manipulate our computers using "oooh" and "ahh" and "Oh shit!".... perhaps we should just restructure the English language?

Voice controlled TV volume?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446371)

The article suggests a TV volume controlled by "TV, sound up, aaaaah".

Well, what if the TV show itself happens to consist of somebody yelling "aaaaah"? You'll get a feedback loop until your windows shatter.

A potential timeline: (5, Funny)

Noer (85363) | about 13 years ago | (#2446419)

2020: Computers everywhere are controlled by grunts, moans, sighs, and snorts.

2040: Computers are finally small enough that they're all embedded into our environments, but neural interfaces don't work, so we still grunt and snort into our computers, but it looks like we're just grunting and snorting in general. People use computers exclusively, and never talk to one another; thus, language is lost and we just grunt and snort a lot.

2060: aliens visit hoping to find intelligent life, but instead find a bunch of snorting, grunting apes. They leave.

Turn off PBS. (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | about 13 years ago | (#2446540)

You don't want the Teletubbies on if you've got this setup.

This is Bad, very bad . . . (1)

lordfetish (48651) | about 13 years ago | (#2446617)

What if I accidentally leave my computer on while having sex with my girlfriend - it may take my vocal signals as a que to fire up my mpeg porn collection. The rapid and violent removal of my genitals is sure to follow . . .

Won't work in New England (2, Funny)

aredubya74 (266988) | about 13 years ago | (#2446640)

Dr Takeo Igarashi, of Brown University suggests the use of "ahhhh" for skipping tracks on a cd, or adjusting tv volume

As a Boston-area resident, I'd like to suggest that this choice of sound wouldn't work for us:

"Hey paahl, gahhhttah go pahhk my caah." *CD skips 4 tracks*

You'd figure the guy works for a New England university, he might've picked up on that. How about "y'all" instead?

Where's the Python foot? (2)

ellem (147712) | about 13 years ago | (#2446659)

"He wouldn't have written 'ahhhhh,' to skip tracks on his CD player."

"Maybe he was dictating."

Internet surfing dog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2446737)

Great, now my dogs will want to use my PC too. As if there are not already enough things in the house to fight over.

Come to think of it, this could be the break through in human animal communication we've all been waiting for. I see a huge new market: Internet Appliance designed for pets.
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