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Why voice commands don't work for you

If you're frustrated by trying to use voice commands for your computer, or any other type of digital device, don't be. Believe me, it's not you. Whatever it takes for computers to understand our spoken words has not been invented yet. And if you think that perhaps it's your voice, or your accent, or if you think that you don't speak clearly, it's not, trust me. You're just fine.

In my opinion, if a computer can't understand me, they don't have much chance with anyone else. In addition to having the accent (or lack of) that comes from growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I have a trained voice. I started making my living speaking in front of groups in the mid-nineties. I make a conscious effort to speak clearly, and avoid slang. This is the type of voice that you hear on the radio and on TV. It is the voice of the *man on the six o'clock news*. You would think that it would be the easiest voice for a computer to understand. But they don't even understand me.

I started experimenting with voice commands back in the late nineties, as they were a standard part of the old Macintosh OS. There were two ways to let the computer know that you were talking to it, you either prefaced your command with *computer!* or you held down the Escape Key. The commands had to be spoken exactly as written, and there was a list that you could read. I spoke clearly and concisely, using the exact words as required. And even then the only command that I remember it getting with any degree of consistency was *tell me a joke*. For the rest I would have to repeat it over and over and over...

I came back to experimenting with voice commands for several years, and then decided that my nervous system just couldn't take it. I have no idea what is involved in getting a computer to understand the spoken word, but it must be incredibly difficult. If it's not working for you, don't feel bad. If you want to see it work, just watch the commercials.