The New York Times has a terrific interactive timeline of the history of smart machines, which goes along with a June 24 article about the cutting edge in speech technology and artificial intelligence.
Interacting with these new intelligent machines will gradually become commonplace in the next decade. There are clear applications–from medical use, to clerical and secretarial work– and the progress being made is quite rapid. As the article notes,
The number of American doctors using speech software to record and transcribe accounts of patient visits and treatments has more than tripled in the past three years to 150,000. The progress is striking. A few years ago, supraspinatus (a rotator cuff muscle) got translated as “fish banana.” Today, the software transcribes all kinds of medical terminology letter perfect, doctors say. (full article)