Languages Magazine

30 Years Ago, Bill Gates & Steve Jobs Made Voice Technology Predictions

By Expectlabs @ExpectLabs

Back in the ‘80s, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs both spoke on the subject of voice-driven technology. Interestingly, the men were pretty on-target, even if Jobs underestimated the amount of time it’d take us to crack the voice code (turns out it’s harder than he reckoned).

[In the future,] we will have serious voice recognition. I expect to wake up and say, “Show me some nice Da Vinci stuff,”  and my ceiling, a high-resolution display, will show me what I want to see—or call up any sort of music or video. The world will be online, and you will be able to simulate just about anything.

Bill Gates, 1987

Voice recognition is going to be the better part of a decade away. The problem is it isn’t just recognizing the voice. Understanding language is much harder than understanding voice. You can sort of sort out the words, but what do I mean? And most language is exceptionally contextually driven. One word means one thing in one context, but it means something entirely different in another context. And talking to somebody, people interact; it’s not one-way communication. They gracefully interact – they get in and out of levels of detail. Boy, this stuff’s hard.

Steve Jobs, 1983 

30 years ago, Bill Gates & Steve Jobs made voice technology predictions

Image courtesy of Leo-setä

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