Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think

James Vlahos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-1-328-79930-2
Journalist Vlahos explores the increasingly ubiquitous presence of voice computing in his thought-provoking debut. He convincingly argues that the “latest technological disruption is happening, and it promises to be one of the most sizable and momentous that the world has ever seen.” Vlahos orients the reader with a discussion of the recent developments in voice computing, culminating in Apple’s creation of the Siri tool now integrated into every iPhone, before moving onto Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s competitive efforts. Vlahos also briefly covers earlier voiced technology, such as Thomas Edison’s talking dolls of the 1870s and Eliza, a psychotherapist chatbot created in the 1960s. Evincing a talent for making the technical both easily understandable and intriguing, he explains how developers today are trying to further improve the user experience through machine learning, the process of “feeding vast amounts of data into computers so they can teach themselves how the world works.” Finally, Vlahos examines recent applications, including Mattel’s work encoding conversational abilities into its Hello Barbie doll, and potential privacy drawbacks. Readers will finish this timely book with a newfound appreciation for, and perhaps some apprehension toward, their favorite voice bot and the technological marvel it represents. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/01/2019
Release date: 01/22/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-1-328-71555-5
Book - 978-1-328-60671-6
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