The Voice Recognition Take Over

Ten years ago, I thought voice activation would only ever exist in sci-fi films. Today, we have Siri and Cortana on devices that we use daily. This is software built into our smartphones and laptops to improve ease of use and accessibility – your own virtual, personal assistant.

We use them somewhat infrequently. You have to speak clearly and precisely to send a text or open a webpage but for the most part they do actually work. This software is also used outside of our phones too, only recently I was in a lift where voice recognition was used to get you to your desired floor.

Where did it begin?

When Apple and Siri were first introduced, the reviews were generally indifferent. Often Siri wouldn’t recognise particular accents and it would typically take three or four attempts for it just to interpret “Hi, Siri”. But since its launch Siri has come on leaps and bounds, now supporting a total of 22 different languages. Plus Apple claim it can now recognise a whole host of regional dialects.

Cortana, Microsoft’s offering, is now two years old and seems to be learning from Siri’s experience – whilst the fact it is now available to download on iPhone shows there could be some competition between the two. In December 2015, Apple claimed “Siri has little to fear from Microsoft’s virtual assistant” but if there is no fear there why are they acknowledging Cortana by writing about it?

Voice recognition could transform account access

Recently I telephoned First Direct and was informed about their Voice ID Security verification tool that they are due to implement. This is meant to transform the way in which we access our accounts over the phone – no longer will be need to stipulate our password, Mothers maiden name and our date of birth.

Instead this system will recognise your voice and know that it is you, subsequently providing you access. But just how safe is this method? There surely must be issues of people having a similar voice, or perhaps your own voice being altered by illness or a sore throat – would this then restrict your access even when it truly is you?

But with First Direct promising that a digital voice “print” is much more secure than any of the current methods we use – it is surely only a matter of time before we discover just how successful it will be.

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