Tonight I was text messaging my girlfriend on an iOS device using SwiftKey. The autosuggestion mechanism was smart enough to predict simple phrases like: “I just got home” or “I’ll talk to you later”.
I thought: I can get used to this.
Then I thought about what life would be like if I always accepted the suggested message.
What if I had been intending to write: “I just got back” instead?
What if autosuggestion convinced enough people to specify “home” over “back”? Apple has an enormous user-base. Constantly altering their lexicon would certainly have an impact on popular communication and the larger english-speaking world.
What if auto-suggest recommended “tomorrow” over “later”? If you accidentally accept the additional specificity then in a sense you commit to it. Are we legally responsible for auto-correct? Some people text rapidly and are quick to hit the send button. There are innumerable examples of people sending ridiculous messages thanks to auto-correct.
I think intelligent language-learning interfaces are the future of technology.
And just like any other advancement in technology, there will be unintended consequences. Auto suggestion is only the beginning.
In the future you will dictate to smart transcribers which remove your ineloquent “uhs” and “likes” and channel your message to the other party, or onto paper.
Have you tried the voice-to-text feature on your phone lately? It’s only a matter of time before that technology is accounting for your regional dialect.
It might be happening already.
We’re in a renaissance of User Experience. Wearable technology is enabling interactional innovation and data collection unlike anything attempted before. Computing power isn’t going anywhere but our auditory and visual recognition capabilities are constantly growing. Trends in machine learning are only empowering these trends.
There is open source technology in voice recognition (CMU Sphinx, with a Ruby wrapper, just out this month!!!), open source facial recognition, and open source pattern recognition. A Boston start up called Indico is making Machine Learning Environments that could empower developers all over the world.
These are tools that anybody can pick up and start building off of.
I can’t wait to see what happens next.