Here is Mike's post today from his Google+ blog:
Columnist mind meld? Dvorak also uses 'Star Trek' reference
I linked earlier to my most recent column (submitted yesterday morning but posted this morning), which is about how Apple and Google will lead us to the Star Trek-like final frontier of talking to our computers. My column focused on how those companies will train us to get into the habit using our cell phones.
Here's that post: https://plus.google.com/113117251731252114390/posts/WM2bg9CeTYm
I just discovered that +John C Dvorak posted a column yesterday on PCmag.com slamming Microsoft for pursuing Star Trek-like technologies, including voice-command PCs.
FWIW, I disagree with Dvorak. Not only is voice-command and virtual assistant technology "forward thinking," it's perfectly inevitable. The only question is: Which company will get there first, and which will profit most.
And here is a link to John's parallel (kind of) post that he refers to above: Microsoft's Wacky New Direction: Star Trek!
I replied to both of these postings with the following:
I've dedicated my career to speech recognition since the 1990s where my first company produced a training simulator for air traffic controllers that's now become the standard used in control towers throughout the world. My latest startup VoiZapp is taking the baby steps necessary to INTELLIGENTLY convert your visual flows of information into audio streams on your mobile devices that are controllable via your voice.
There are basically 4 classes of voice-related capabilities that we all might want to incorporate into our mobile devices, stated roughly in order of their tech maturities: 1) text-to-speech or TTS, whose tech is "good enough" now; 2) voice control, which enables us to command the computer via a circumscribed set of keywords and is also fairly well advanced; 3) voice dictation, which accepts the entire vocabulary of a language so that we can dictate replies to messages, articles, etc and whose tech works decently in controlled environments (Dragon Dictation) but not all that well in the wild; and 4) natural language understanding, in which the computer must convert those strings of words into your intentions and desires that "make sense" in a conversational context, whose tech works well enough to win at Jeopardy! but is the least advanced overall.
We've released a first iOS app called "Friends Aloud" that incorporates the first of these by reading aloud your Facebook news feed. We are about to release several more with voice control enabled, and are working on retrofitting voice dictation into Friends Aloud and the others before the end of this quarter. Apple's Siri, based on DARPA-funded work by my friends at SRI a few years back, is a great first step in the fourth category, but by next year, we at VoiZapp hope to have some apps completed that can similarly act as personal assistants and respond to your requests, but will further banter back and forth with you to fine-tune your desires by intelligently feeding back (via voice of course) what it's finding on its web searches, just as a seasoned personal assistant might.
So ... no Star Trek capabilities yet, but those of us playing in this sandbox are moving smartly in that direction at ever-accelerating (sub-warp) speeds. Stay tuned...