Voice recognition software has a vast array of potential uses ahead of it; it is one of the technological advancements that could allow for a future world where a lonely, introverted man falls in love with an operating system with artificial intelligence as in Spike Jonze’s Her. More immediately, and less fantastical, is the future that International Business Machine’s (NYSE:IBM) Watson supercomputer has the potential to create.
Relying on its voice recognition software among other pieces of technology, the artificially intelligent computer system has ability to learn, and that capability along with its analytical powers, IBM hopes will revolutionize medical diagnostics and financial investing. But voice recognition software already has the potential to revolutionize how individuals interact with technology on a daily basis; Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Voice Search can find directions, set important reminders, or call a taxi after a night out. For now, Apple and Google are racing for domination in voice control, although there may be soon a new competitor: Intel.
The problem with voice recognition software is speed. This is not the fault of the software itself, as voice recognition is now more accurate than ever. Rather, difficulties arise when the software sends the compressed recording of the user’s voice to servers hundreds or thousands of miles away, where powerful computers translate the sound into text or a command. The round trip between the user’s device and the servers, which take quite some time on slow cellular connections, can result in a minutes-long wait while Siri or Google Now “think.”
However, as technology companies are constantly looking to gain ground on their peers a solution has already been developed. During an exclusive interview with Quartz’s Christopher Mims, Mike Bell, Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) head of wearables, explained how the company plans to avoid the cloud and speed up voice processing. According to Bell, a partnership made with an unnamed company has allowed Intel to put that company’s voice recognition software on Intel mobile processors. Those processors are power enough to compute the voice commands, but small enough to fit in a wearable device, meaning no round trip to the cloud is needed. He described a device known as “Jarvis,” which is a prototype wireless headset that rests in the user’s ears and connects to a smartphone. There may be no link, but the voice recognition and artificial software used by Tony Stark in the Iron Man franchise is named Jarvis.