In the medical field, voice technology often finds a particularly strong market, especially rife with impactful and futuristic use cases. The high price of labor for doctors and other trained professional workers – who often spent countless hours entering information into their patient’s electronic health records themselves – is just one example of a chance for innovative startups to disrupt the current status quo. But the rising number of startups entering the industry also poses another set of questions that will have a significant effect on how voice technology is utilized. What will the landscape look like as these companies grow and expand?
One of the first areas where voice technology is quickly transforming the medical field is in the realm of speech recognition. Companies throughout the United States are using voice technology to help voice recognition software to recognize the most common medical conditions. At the same time, medical professionals are able to perform more thorough assessments of these patients, which can help them prevent diagnoses that could save lives. As a result, some clinics and hospitals are turning to voice technology to make preventative care a more viable option for high-need patients. In short, a voice tech may be making the front line between life and death for some patients.
While some companies are primarily making speech recognition software to address speech recognition needs in the medical field, others are finding their voice technology can be used in far more unique fields. Mental health professionals have also been exploring the potential applications of voice technology in their work. In particular, many experts believe the introduction of artificially intelligent digital assistants will prove to be the tipping point that transforms voice technology into something far more meaningful and helpful than it has thus far been. For example, Google recently announced an initiative called “Google Brain” that will enable digital assistants to communicate in a way that is highly personalized and specific to the user.
Potential applications of voice technology
Even in its early stages, voice technology has already helped address a range of issues. For example, a clinical trial conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, has seen the successful application of speech recognition software to save the lives of patients who are suffering from a brain tumor. The program recognizes brain patterns that are released as the patient suffers from a seizure and then alerts the hospital staff. When the staff can take control of the seizure, they can begin to treat the patient before he or she drowns. This is the first time that this kind of artificially intelligent speech recognition software has been used in such a manner. It is believed that much more improvements are still on the way.
The potential applications of voice technology extend far beyond the medical arena. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have managed to program a computer to mimic the normal operation of a human speech processor. By manipulating a series of voice samples, researchers were able to create a device that can hear and reproduce a wide range of voices, including that of a baby. Similar experiments are currently underway in the UK, where scientists are trying to digitally re-create the voice of a child with severe brain damage.
While it will take a lot more research and time for voice technology to fully realize its potential, there are some notable exceptions. One of the most exciting pieces of software is called Voxpow. Developed by a Bulgarian company, headquartered in U.S.A, this software will allow its users you to embed speech recognition in websites. Privacy concerns aside, it is a remarkable addition to an ever-expanding group of smart speakers, which will ultimately benefit everyone’s life experiences.
Google’s efforts to develop its own intelligent assistant are not the first attempts to develop speech recognition. Microsoft has had its own struggle with speech recognition and later developed its own speech recognition assistant, dubbed the Project Natal. Apple is said to be working on its own self-learning digital assistant, codenamed “Siri,” but so far, it appears to be sticking to its traditional form of providing a voice assistant to iPhone users. The real advancement that may have been avoided with Google’s speech recognition system, was the company’s decision to require its employees to use the beta version of its web search product, Google Search. The result was that a number of people quit the project in favor of using a more generic web search program, like Microsoft’s.
Even though voice assistants are still in their relative infancy, the technology they are developing is getting cheaper. This will lead to even more improvements, and a bigger leap forward for voice assistants. It is likely that we will see a number of new advanced versions of voice assistants hitting the market over the next four years. To get your own assistant, check out my website.