This month it is 20 years ago that Dragon NaturallySpeaking by – then – Dragon Systems was ‘born’.
It was the first speech recognition product that allowed you to dictate continuously. Its predecessor DragonDictate required you to speak word-for-word. A much slower process where every word was analysed and recognised separately. Not until Dragon had finished processing one word, could it start with the next word.
I’ve used this ‘discreet’ type of speech recognition before Dragon NaturallySpeaking became available and… what can say… it worked. But not fast. Still, it allowed me to use the computer, where otherwise I could not have done so.
Speech recognition that allowed you to speak an entire sentence without having to pause between every word was a revolutionary improvement. It’s no wonder that they called it “NaturallySpeaking”. Even though, to be honest, you could not really speak all that ‘naturally’ and still get good results. Current versions of Dragon are much better equipped to handle casual speech.
In 20 years we are now in the 15th iteration of Dragon. We’ve lost the “NaturallySpeaking” part of the name a couple of years ago. Where once ‘speaking naturally’ was revolutionary improvement, it has now become a mainstream feature of any speech recognition program or app.
After 20 years
Dragon speech recognition has come a long way in 20 years. Now it truly is a product that can improve your efficiency considerably. It remains a fact that not all computer work can be done easily by voice. Imagine doing graphic design without using the mouse; it would take a lo-o-ong time to get anything finished. Still, dictation and command and control of the computer can largely be done by voice with Dragon and many computer actions are as fast with Dragon as by hand. Or even faster, in the case of dictation and clever use of custom commands.
It goes without saying that this blog post is dictated with Dragon. Also the editing is done by voice, like moving a paragraph and adding, and then removing, parenthesis et cetera. Currently I am, quite literally, sitting on my hands and still getting work done. And my speed of work is not impacted at all by my sitting on my hands. Amazing.
Congratulations to manufacturer Nuance on the 20th anniversary of Dragon continuous speech recognition! Hopefully you will continue to improve the product, so that we can look forward to the next 20 years.
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