“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you walked past me this morning on 2nd street, you would have heard me say something like this:

“Hello john comma it’s great to hear from you period let’s find a time next week to meet period thanks comma tom”

I’m not chatting with someone on the telephone. Rather, I’m answering emails by talking to my phone and using Android’s speech to text engine to transcode my emails. I have found speech is the fastest way to respond to emails.

Similarly, reading text is much faster than listening to someone. I estimate saving more than 2 minutes by skimming a NYTimes article instead of watching a video of a journalist explicating the scene. Text and image data have greater data density than audio and video. The parallel holds for email and telephone.

Combining reading’s data ingest speed with a natural response of speaking a reaction is a near effortless way to process email. A keyboard isn’t a natural tool. The best touch typists must translate words to key strokes. But speaking is innate, immediate and fast. And responding to emails with voice is liberating.

I’m even using this technology on my Mac. In the base build of Chrome, there is a speech to text engine that I’m using to write this post. I still need to use the mouse and keyboard for editing, but I’m almost free of them.

Speech continues to impact the way we interact with computers and ourselves. Today, it may be nothing more than accelerating email responses. But soon, it will be much, much more.