Siri Stage Fright

February 16, 2012 by Gabe | [mmd] |

BoingBoing has an interesting link about the problems with using voice recognition to write fiction.

"And when I’m typing the sentence it always has a resemblance to its platonic ideal."

I think that's true for most of my writing. By the time I add a period to the end of the sentence, it's structure closely resembles my thought. When I write with Siri, I regularly abandon sentences or stop dictation and finish by typing.

Whenever I have attempted to use voice recognition to write long pieces, I suffer from an awkward kind of stage fright. I stumble over words and fumble the idea I am trying to form. I have no problem dictating short text messages or reminders with Siri. The real problem comes when I am attempting to dictate long poorly defined chunks of text. I have no such problem while typing.

I think the crux of the problem also highlights a weakness with Siri. I'm conscious of the difficulty in correcting Siri. I try hard not to make a mistake. I try so hard that I end up killing the creative thought I am molding.

If I change my mind mid sentence with Siri, my only options are to either abandon the dictation session and start new or push through and remember to go back and manually edit the work later. While I type, I have none of these concerns. If I change my pants mind I can edit in place and continue. There is very little lag from thought to screen.

For me, I think the only way this can be fixed is for Siri to provide recognition for corrections. If I make a mistake I'd like to say "back two letters" or "scratch that last word" and continue from there. Until that time, Siri will remain a dim-witted assistant only capable of helping with short writing. She's helpful, but she's still not all that bright.