Hey Fridge! Voice Control: where is it going?

Voice is a big deal and since the big 5 (Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Apple) are active with their voice enabled apps and/or devices. Speech recognition seems to become a commodity: it works. You can open/activate your app or call the device (“Hey Alexa”) and say something that the app/device needs to do: what is the weather in Rome? The app/device will then do exactly what you want. 

Voice control is an effective and efficient non-visual interaction mode for (graphical) user interfaces. For visually impaired users, voice control offers an exciting and efficient alternative to e.g. screenreader input. But voice control is also a good alternative for a broader audience (e.g. motion-impaired people, people using a smartphone in bright sunlight, etc.).

In this round table I will shed my light on advances in speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP). What are constraints of existing voice control systems? What can we expect in the next few years? And I would like to discuss with you in what ways voice control can enrich the lives of visually impaired people. What should we focus on first? How can we work together to realize new voice control applications?

Dr. Arjan van Hessen

Arjan van Hessen is an experienced evangelist of speech and language technology, with a strong focus on Human-Machine-Interaction. He works as a researcher of speech and language technology at the University of Twente. He is also “head of Imagination” at Telecats, a Dutch software company working in applied Speech Technology.