What should be un-in­vented?

BEN CUM­MING, GEN­ERAL MAN­AGER OF HELL PIZZA

New Zealand Marketing - - The Change Issue -

Should we get rid of voice recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy—or at least park it for now, un­til it’s ac­cu­rate enough to ac­tu­ally be a re­li­able ben­e­fit in­stead of the amus­ing gim­mick it cur­rently is?

We would love one day to sim­ply tell our iwatch to “or­der me a dou­ble Lust to be de­liv­ered ASAP” and, hey presto, 30 min­utes later a hot pizza ar­rives to your lo­ca­tion from your favourite store. But would any­one be con­fi­dent enough that it would work to ac­tu­ally use it? Plus, with pizza names like Lust, May­hem, and Mis­chief, who knows what Hell’s cus­tomers would end up see­ing on their doorstep? Noth­ing in life makes peo­ple an­grier than a late pizza, apart from one that never even ar­rives, so the risk far out­weighs the re­wards for any real life mar­ket­ing or order­ing pur­pose at the mo­ment.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve im­pressed my grandma by ca­su­ally ask­ing my phone “what’s the weather fore­cast for to­day?” but I’ve also had the re­al­i­sa­tion while driv­ing that since my at­tempt at voice-di­al­ing a con­tact has failed three times and now I’m scrolling through my con­tacts man­u­ally, I’m ac­tu­ally still break­ing the law and way more dis­tracted than if I had just used my phone nor­mally.

So, should we un-in­vent voice recog­ni­tion? Nope. Em­brac­ing tech­nol­ogy, even when it’s not ready, is a pledge we all must make be­cause it en­cour­ages (and funds) com­pa­nies to cre­ate tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions and ad­vance­ments that will one day be­come per­fect to use and se­cond na­ture to us.

Mo­bile phones are the ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple. Orig­i­nally mas­sive and hideously ex­pen­sive and now im­pos­si­ble to live with­out. So we should pay homage to the ‘80s yup­pies who put them­selves through the fi­nan­cial pain and ret­ro­spec­tive hu­mil­i­a­tion of buy­ing and us­ing their Mo­torola bricks; we prob­a­bly wouldn’t have smart­phones now if it weren’t for their com­mit­ment to tech­nol­ogy.

Un­til it’s honed and gen­uinely use­ful, voice recog­ni­tion is just frus­trat­ing and noth­ing more than a fun fea­ture used to sell phones, but hey, let’s just keep buy­ing them un­til they get it right be­cause one day we’ll won­der how we coped with­out it.

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