What’s next.

Continued progress in reinventing the relationship between people and technology.

Is the keyboard a time-limited technology?

Keyboards first came to popularity with the typewriter, getting a new lease of life as computers became popular. But keyboards are a relatively new technology, and we can get all kinds of things done faster and easier without them. Speech recognition software can help us create text three times faster than typing. It can be used to help us interact with computers, asking questions, making things happen. Perhaps sometime soon keyboards will be a thing of the past.

Humour me for a moment.

Set a timer for 30 seconds and start it running. Then close your eyes and try to imagine what your working life – or your leisure time – would be like without a keyboard. Come back to me when you are done!

How many things did you think of that you use a keyboard for? Plenty of work tasks, probably. Email to friends and family. Masses of things you do through the web.

Now think of the number of things you do today that you couldn’t do without a keyboard just a few years ago. Ask a smart speaker for train times, TV schedules, to play a tune, to tell you the weather. Speak a text message to your phone and have it transcribed. I’m sure you have more examples.

Keyboards are a recent invention. It was the 1870s when they started to be commercially successful – in typewriters. Computers came later. We talk about computers being invented in the 1950s, but they didn’t really hit mainstream office work till the 1980s. The gap between then and now – just 40 years. Hardly any time at all.

For all of the life of computers, people have been developing speech recognition technology – see our recent blog entitled “The History of Speech Recognition Part 1”. It’s come a very long way in that you can speak a text message or ask an inanimate object if it will rain tomorrow and expect a cogent answer.

It’s odd, in a way, that we feel so chained to our keyboards. We feel we can’t really manage without them. After all, there is a very real sense in which, for many tasks, they’re not needed. They can even slow us down.

It’s already well known that Dragon can turn the spoken word into text three times faster than typing. Firms save a lot of time and money using it – we’ve done research in the financial services sector that shows this.

How long before this stops being something of a secret and people start to catch on? After all, if you could get your written work done more quickly and speak your emails to friends and family, there would be more time for other stuff.

Shut your eyes again and think of the other stuff. What’s not to like?

Alistair Robbie

About Alistair Robbie

Alistair Robbie is the regional marketing manager at Nuance for the Dragon Professional & Consumer (P&C) division within Healthcare. He is responsible for the UK, Ireland and Benelux territories and has numerous years of marketing experience within the IT industry focusing on channel and field marketing. In his spare time, Alistair enjoys keeping active through running, playing squash and the gym as well as enjoying music, drinking wine from Chile and eating Mexican food!