Maybe I’m giving away my age when I say that I’ve been waiting to talk to computers since I was a kid watching Star Trek. Although voice interfaces have been around for a while, until recently they really didn’t work that well. Along came Siri and now there is “OK Google”, and we are starting to really get there.
The question that comes to my mind is, “When will the keyboard become a relic of the past?” or phrased another way, “When will I be writing my blog posts and books by talking into my computer.”
I’m reminded of one of my favorite Star Trek clips where Scotty and the Doctor go back to the 1980s and Scotty tries to talk to a Mac computer by speaking into the mouse:
Talking is a natural human activity. Touching objects (touch screen) or moving your hand (gestures on a screen or even trackpad) are natural human activities. Looking at pictures and symbols is a natural human activity even if it is on a screen. Typing on a keyboard? Not so much. Typing is an artificial invention. I’m a very fast typist, but I still can’t type as fast as I can talk.
We’ve now got smartphones that talk to us and understand our speech. And the new smartphones are so large they aren’t phones, they are “phablets”. So when are the rest of the devices going to catch up? Our laptops can have touch screens. Why not let the tablets and laptops and desktops do what the smartphones can do.?
Here’s a prediction that is probably more wishful thinking than prediction. Let’s make 2015 the year we throw away the keyboards. I hope this comes to pass. I’d like to see keyboards become obsolete (with the exception of specialized devices for the visual and/or speaking disabled). Just like I have a turntable in my house, in case I decide I want to listen to one of the old vinyl records I still have, I might have a keyboard just in case I get laryngitis. But as soon as it’s ready I’ll be buying a touch screen computer with excellent two-way voice capability and the keyboard will end up on a shelf in my basement gathering dust.
What do you think? Do you agree? When do you think this will happen?
The great photo at the top of the page and the unique necklace is by “Cassette Cavalcade” who makes various “tech” jewelry. You can find this necklace and more at their Etsy site.