CES 2017: Voice is the next computer interface

As voice recognition finally hits parity with human performance, vendors are using vocal computing in more sophisticated ways.

Amazon’s voice activated assistant Alexa made a splash at CES in 2016, and at this year’s show, Alexa is just about everywhere you look.

While Amazon has its own motivations for distributing its platform as broadly as possible, its momentum also represents a larger trend, according to Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

Speech recognition and vocal computing have reached an inflection point, he said at the Las Vegas conference, now that the word error rate (WER) has reached about 5 percent, effectively achieving human parity. In the mid 90’s, the WER was effectively 100 percent. By 2013, it was around 23 percent.

“We’ve seen more progress in this technology in the last 30 months than we saw in the last 30 years,” DuBravac said. “Ultimately vocal computing is replacing the traditional graphical user interface.”

The CTA estimates about 5 million voice activated digital assistants have been sold to date, and that this figure will double in 2017.

There are other factors, along with better speech recognition, that are “ushering in a new era of faceless computing,” DuBravac said. GUIs started to disappear with wearables and other non-traditional computing applications around 2010, he noted. That trend is expected to continue with “robots” like Mayfield’s Kuri or Samsung’s POWERbot VR7000 vacuum cleaner — two devices officially unveiled this week at CES.

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By : www.zdnet.com

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