I used dictation and voice control for a week and that's what happened

Original author: Thorin Klosowski
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Wherever you look, voice control and dictation are added to all applications, operating systems and game consoles. We like to laugh at how poorly they work, but I decided to dive into the topic with my head, for myself to see how it all works, use voice features ... for everything. That's what came out of it.

Why did I contact dictation in general



Like any science fiction fan, I was intrigued by speech control and dictation . In films, this looks cool , and although we have not yet reached it, we are approaching the one depicted in the movies daily. Whether we like it or not, in the coming years we will manage our computers and phones with speech more often.

Dictation also has a certain romantic touch. This is the modern equivalent of muttering your thoughts into a voice recorder . Only now our words are displayed in the text while we speak. For someone who plays the keys all day, it sounds great. Maybe I can write on the go. Or, to be honest, maybe I can write without getting out of bed or even without sitting down. (Here, a dream!)

In fact, although I didn’t have any particular illusions about how everything would go, the opportunity to enjoy a conversation with my gadgets won. Will I sound and look funny? Yes, I will. Will I get my friends by answering text messages in public places, talking with the phone? Yes, I will. But the opportunity to fall in love with such a life is worth the effort.

Day One: Training


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From watching a lot of science fiction films, it seems that voice control is an intuitive process. The first day I realized that this is far from the case. I started by trying to write some blog posts using dictation. Here is an excerpt from my first attempt. Just to understand how badly I imagined how to use the service:,

DeleteBack TalkSend Jessica as you say it sounds good on my phone It’s

clear that the first thing that happened was I said the wrong word, which I tried to delete. Then I did not shout for a long time at the computer. Well, apparently, to adapt, it will take some time.

It’s good that we even have instructions. So I moved the microphone closer, learned the basics of formatting (you need to say “comma”, “space”, etc.) and tried again. At first I took up a simple text . Here's what happened:

This quote is from our recent freakonomics interview with wired co-founder Kevin Kelly, and is a good reminder that this will need to be identified separately.

Oh, this is much better than the first attempt. Recognized the "freekonomics". Nevertheless, I had to go back and add a capital letter at the beginning of Wired, change “will” to “instrument”. A stand-alone microphone (not built into a laptop - approx. Per. ), Coupled with an understanding of punctuation commands, made the text clearer.

However, I was not so much confused by the system errors as the fact itself that it was necessary to say what I want to print. It turned out that dictation is not as intuitive as I thought. It turned out that in order to come up with what I want to print further, I need to take long pauses. When you print, you have a sea of ​​time - you can stop and think about the next sentence, and dictation and speech make you want to move faster. It took me a while to get used to it.

It is worth noting that the use of dictation on my iPhone for short text messages or mail went much smoother. Due to the very nature of the text dialogs - they are brief - dictation on the phone was easier for me. I even liked to dictate the answers, although I was clearly annoying others.

Day two: setting up and using voice services on a computer


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When the second day of using the dictation came, I realized that if I want even more benefit from the service, I will have to get into the subject even deeper. This meant that it was necessary to study the speech commands themselves, and not be limited to dictation.

And this is more than dictating what you want to say, this is the ability to edit on the fly. On the Mac, as it turned out, if you want to completely control the text, you need to enable speech commands: open "System Settings", then "Access", select "Dictation" there, click on the "Dictation Commands" button and, finally, select the "Enable advanced teams. "

By enabling advanced commands, I was able to control the computer, open programs and, most importantly, edit the text. Here I realized the error of the first day. To delete an incorrect word, one must say not just “delete”, but “delete this”. Now I could edit with commands such as “cut it”, “copy it”, “roll back this” and “this with a capital letter”. If you are not sure what to say in order to perform an action, you can say “show commands” and you will get a pop-up window with available commands. Other command sets

available for Windows usersbut in general they are similar, although they can simply be told “delete” instead of “delete this”. I have no experience using speech management in Windows, but it’s easy to enable commands: in the search, find “Windows speech recognition” (the original text leads to the inclusion of a function in Win7, which I don’t have access to. Approx. Per. ).

Advanced Mac commands allow you to manage and applications. You can use commands such as "switch to [program name]", "open a document" and "click on [subject]", that is, do anything. There is no action command you want to do? In the settings, click "+" and add your own command. Type the phrase that will trigger the action, select the application to control, then specify the action to be taken. I personally stayed with keyboard shortcuts.

The ability, for example, in Chrome to hang on the command “change tab” abbreviation Command + Option + Arrow completely changed the way I used the commands voice. If you really want to dive even deeper into the process, you can start managing the actions of Automator. My initial knowledge of this was not enough.

The same can be said of Siri. With her you need to know exactly what you can say and what not . It should be recognized, however, that Siri (and Google Now) are more intuitive in speech commands than a regular PC. Managing all the voice on the phone is very simple and, if you’re used to having a look at you , it’s even nice. Today is only the second day, and I'm already too lazy to type messages with both hands. Sadly, I don't care.

Day five: finally, voice control has become convenient



The fourth day was wasted, but on the fifth I finally got involved. Not only can I work, but I can work efficiently.

I have created speech commands for all the necessary actions. I can switch tabs in the browser, windows, launch applications, manage actions in them (for example, the “next” command goes between articles in the RSS client) and I can spend almost all day without touching the keyboard or mouse. It's cool in its own way, although my voice has become hoarse.

Dictation also began to turn out. It is necessary to completely rebuild the brain: you used to communicate by typing, but now by voice. So getting used to takes time. In the beginning, a couple of days I typed in simple sentences, but now I was able to include my “voice” in the texts. It would seem that everything should work out right away, but voice dictation does not bring personalities to the text. I had to work for this. I do not speak as I type. Moreover, during the dictation, I go back and forth, which, as it turned out, is very suitable for me.

It is worth mentioning, however, that the dictation teams began to penetrate my life. At least once in a real conversation I uttered a “comma” out loud. I am sure that this happened because I was completely immersed in the management of speech, but it was worth mentioning. Well, at least, the interlocutor took my passage with humor.

Seventh day: accepting the fact and returning the keyboard


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Approaching the end of my experience, I got used to dictation by voice and speech control. Both services have advantages, but I returned to the keyboard and mouse.

In almost all articles where dictation is mentioned, the authors indicate that the article, they say, is written completely with the help of dictation . Often in articles funny errors are found, there is not enough punctuation or the words are in a strange order. I wrote this article completely dictated. But I also edited it with a dictation. And when I finished, I edited it using the keyboard and mouse. Then I sent it to other people for editing. If you are not deprived of the ability to print, dictation is just a tool. This is not an answer for the author. You still need to edit after voice dictation (this, after all, is the authorship).

Speech management is a funny thing for a couple of days, and then boring. As for me, keyboard shortcuts are faster to use. Voice navigation is more annoying than helping. But at least you can eat chips without slapping a mouse. Printing is also easier, because my head is sharpened for this business. It’s sad that I print much better than I say - even after a week of using the dictation, my speech improved hardly. It was a fun experience, but it seems to me that retraining for dictation in the long run is not worth the effort. Of course, I can lazily print articles while lying on the floor (or standing if there is no space at the table), but it is better to sit directly on a chair , typing text.

But I see the benefits of voice services. Dictation and voice control are useful if your computer is configured as a media center. Dictation is useful for those who like to go back and forth in thought. But do not expect much. I liked using the dictation, but you can use it only in the brainstorm or in transferring thoughts to paper when there is no need to edit the text.

Having said all this, I confess that I began to work better with Siri on my Iphone, that I use it more often, although not during meetings and not in public places. Siri is useful in cases where I can’t look at the phone. When I walk or run, I ride a bicycle or ... well, when I'm too lazy to reach out and pull the phone out of charge. In mobile, speech management is more logical, because cases when you cannot reach the phone occur more often than when you cannot reach the computer. A car is the most frequent manifestation of such cases, but it also happens during cooking, at lunch, when hands are busy. Learning to use Siri or Google Now is useful, because if you don’t do this, you won’t know how to use them and when.

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