Would you adopt a NUI?

by Giuseppe Lanzi on 11/27/2012

Apple’s iOS6 has been out for two months now, and among other things it includes a more evolved version of Siri, as well as availability in languages other than English. While this technology promised an exhilarating experience, the actual practice was “slightly different”.

In the end, you only use it to amuse yourself – to find out how it behaves if you ask it something strange, or insult it. It’s tough to find helpful ways to use it in practical situations. The last time I tried to use Siri it was because my hands were already busy and I wanted to tweet “I’ve just dodged a little goose sitting in the middle of the highway: a disturbing experience”, and Siri’s various offerings were so disappointing that in the end I just kept it to myself.

But I didn’t decide to write this post to talk about geese. Instead, I chose this anecdote as an opportunity to talk about NUIs – Natural User Interfaces – of which Siri is an example. What’s more natural than talking?

You should know that Andrea has always been a huge fan of Voice Recognition and Natural-Language Programming, and has wanted to move in this direction for a long time. Our feasibility studies tell us that we could add these features to Instant Developer: imagine a user asking the application to perform certain tasks using natural language – “Show me all orders from the ACME customer in 2012”.

The others and I have always voted against this project, because we think that there is a big difference between speech recognition and creating a truly useful NUI. Siri is a prime example of this distance.

Which side are you on?
Are NUIs and speech the right way to use business applications, or is the current way good enough?

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