If you’ve got the latest iPhone (or if you’ve seen an ad for it), you know what Siri is. To whit: it’s a speech recognition interface that lets you control your phone by talking to it. You can tell it to set reminders, find songs, or look up nearby pizza places; it listens to, and responds with, everyday American English. It’s pretty damn cool on a phone, but that’s barely scratching the surface of its potential.
For example, I recently came across the following rumor that a certain auto maker may soon be integrating Siri technology into their cars:
During our tour of BMW and MOG’s impressive new car integration yesterday, the company let slip that it would love to implement Siri inside its vehicles. We couldn’t get any more specifics about whether Siri voice controls were already in development, but the company expressed a great interest in making it happen.
If you could talk to your car, what would you say? “Car, defrost the windows.” “Car, who has the cheapest gas around here?” “Car, I’m sick of this classic rock station, find me something else.” And if it could talk back, it might remind you to get an oil change, warn you of an upcoming traffic jam (by tapping into existing GPS traffic services) or even alert you to dangerous conditions, all without taking your eyes off the road. Pretty sweet!
Again, this is just speculation, though it strikes me as highly plausible. Even if this particular rumor doesn’t pan out, I have zero doubt that voice-controlled interfaces will soon make their way into many applications. Here are a couple things I’d prefer to converse with, if I could:
- My kitchen. “Oven, 350 degrees for twenty minutes, then low heat for an hour. Coffeemaker, make me four cups.”
- My bathroom. “Shower, give me 102 degrees at 70% pressure.”
- My whole house. “House, dim the lights, put on some Billie Holiday and order me a pizza – my usual.”
Then again, there’s at least one place where they already have voice control and I wish they’d just get rid of the horrible thing:
- Customer service. Every time the robot on the phone says “I’m sorry, I don’t recognize that command. Did you say ‘banking?'” I want to scream.
So how about you? If you could add voice recognition to your own life, where would you? And what if it took hold everywhere? Would that be a wondrous world-of-the-future, or a step down the slippery slope of the uncanny valley?