The other thing that got me thinking in ‘Her’ was the way that voice is the main interface with technology. It got me thinking about how far speech recognition and using the voice to manipulate technology had come on and wondering how close to reality the way that Theodore uses it in the film is today.
So for the last couple of days I’ve been trying out the ‘enhanced dictation’ in OS X Mavericks. It’s so much better than I expected and although you do feel a bit stupid talking to your computer, I wonder whether it could start to change things. Writing is such a big part of what I do and while I’m pretty good at typing, I think speech recognition could change the way I write. I’m already finding that I think differently when I have to speak out loud and I wonder whether it will make my writing feel more natural over time.
At the moment though, you always have to go back and edit any copy that you’ve dictated to the computer — I’m certainly doing that with this piece. But reading around the topic a little it seems that the voice recognition gets better over time as it learns from your habits. I think it would also have to change the way that offices are designed if everybody is going to be talking out loud. Theodore’s office in the film didn’t seem very realistic to me acoustically.
Also interestingly, there isn’t a ‘delete’ function in voice recognition on Mavericks yet which is pretty important in the film. That and the fact that all the computers seem to be made of wood — which I think is pretty cool.