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By LAUREN SCHOENEMANN
With the release of the iPhone 4S, Apple took voice recognition, a previously extraneous feature, and true to form for all of the company’s products, brought it out of the realm of fiction and into reality as a practical tool for consumers.
Siri, with its seemingly science-fiction speech-recognition capability, can process the unique speech of its owner, perform the function requested and respond in a surprisingly conversational female voice. It serves as a virtual personal assistant for its users and raises the bar for Apple’s competitors, pushing them to develop even more humanlike devices.
As a language student, I anticipate possibly using a more advanced version of Siri while traveling in order to help me better communicate with the locals. A GPS-enabled device like this would be able to translate phrases into the local vernacular of the target language, overcoming the limitations of current translators that only draw from a set of stored vocabulary and phrases.
It could even serve as a language tutor for people interested in learning a language but who are not acquainted with native speakers. Conversing in a foreign language with my cell phone would be pretty tough to top.
We have not yet reached the technological sophistication that “The Jetsons” producers envisioned for our century, but there’s still time for companies like Apple to develop more sophisticated products.
Considering the rate at which technology has improved, especially within the last decade, making a full-fledged electronic assistant an everyday reality could be in our not-too-distant future.