An ante-litteram vision of Siri

Some of you may remember the Apple’s knowledge navigator video posted here. It was released in 1987 as a vision of a future tight integration of advanced technologies on a flat tablet computer. The computer in this entertaining vision clip sports a fancy Web-like interface, a realistic avatar, touch screen with gesture recognition, teleconferencing, speech recognition, natural language understanding, all of that ¬†from 5 to 15 years before they were actually available in some shape or form. I remember watching this during my first years at Bell Labs when the recognition of connected digits was still one of the main challenges, a vocabulary of 1,000 words was considered a large one (a million word vocabulary does not scare anyone in speech recognition today), and all we had for training speech recognizer was a few thousand utterances (today we talk about 100s of millions of utterances).

~ by Roberto Pieraccini on June 26, 2012.

2 Responses to “An ante-litteram vision of Siri”

  1. Great post Roberto. I too used this Knowledge Navigator video tape in teaching classes. This was pre- world wide web, pre-WiFi, pre-smartphone. One gap in the vision was that the professor left the machine on the desk so how could the Intelligent Agent track his preferences.

  2. Thanks Susann. Good point! Maybe, like in HAL-9000, it has wireless sensors all over the places?

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