Google Seeks Pohl's Joymaker Voice Recognition

The joymaker is a remarkably prescient science-fictional invention by Frederik Pohl; he describes it in his 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot. In the story, the joymaker has no screen and no keyboard; it uses voice recognition to accept requests and commands from users:

"Self-programming" means that the programmed software includes procedures for translating most normal variations of voice, idiom, accent, and other variable modalities into a computer-oriented sim-script and thence into the mathematical expressions on which the computers operate. As long as your personal joymaker is within reception range of your voice, you may communicate via other shared-time transponders if you wish.
(Read more about Pohl's voice-enabled smartphone)

Vic Gundotra, vice-president of Engineering for Google, talked at some length about exactly this sort of smartphone feature at the Google IO conference; start at about 21:00 into the following video for his discussion and excellent examples.


(Google voice recognition - start at 21:00)

"Google, starting several years ago, really made a deep investment in voice recognition. We recognized that the mobile device, because of its limited input capability, would be the platform in which people used voice input more than any other platform.

"In fact, we see a stunning number of queries being done on mobile devices where the input is a human voice."

Pohl would be proud.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/23/2010)

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