Steve Jobs on Speech Technology as Transcribed by an iPhone 4S

In 2003 Steve Jobs sat down with Walt Mossberg at the first-ever D: All Things Digital conference. The end of the session included a rare open Q&A with Jobs by audience members in which the following question was asked:

“You talk about handwriting and keyboard, how about speech as a human interface?”

Here is Steve’s answer transcribed by an iPhone 4S using iOS 5’s Dictation feature:

“You know that the last part of that question is is exactly right I I I’ve been almost 30 years and it’s speech is always been five years away because I’m trying to completions
But it went most of the really smart people of speech I know have gotten out of Beelitz it’s like nuclear fusion a lot of bright people went into it and and and people now think it’s a ways away you can do what you can do adequate speech today to meet your correcting a lot of stuff if you just have to know even 1% area try cannot as it turns out you can speak a lot of words in a few terrible so it’s got to be very accurate and so far no one’s come up with the technology Apple’s got a very we got to speak working on stuff Microsoft has a group you want GreatWorks be done in academia but it doesn’t look like it’s been a be real anytime soon I wish it was different”

Here is what he actually said:

“Ya know, the last part of that question is exactly right. I’ve been in this industry almost 30 years and speech has always been five years away. It’s been constant time to completion, just moving along 5 years away. Most of the really smart people in speech I know have gotten out of the field. It’s like nuclear fusion a lot of bright people went into it and people now think it’s a ways away. You can do you can do adequate speech today but it means you’re correcting a lot of stuff. If you just have even 1% error it drives you nuts. Because it turns out you can speak a lot of words in a five minute interval. So, it’s gotta be very accurate and so far no ones come up with the technology. Apple’s got a speech group working on stuff. Microsoft has a group. A lot of great work is being done in academia but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be real any time soon. I wish it was different.”

Looks like Steve was right.

General Pop culture Technology

Thoughts on Steve

On April 1st, 2011, I walked out of the doors of The North Michigan Avenue Apple store as an employee for the last time.

My fellow employees were lined up from the glass staircase to the doorway, leaving me no choice but to walk down the middle between them. As I approached, they began to clap and cheer at full intensity. I had been a part of this ritual countless times in my six and a half years with the company, so I knew it was coming. Still, it took every fiber of my being to stay composed. I bolted for the door, and when I finally got there, I turned around, looked back at my friends, and threw my arms in the air to wave goodbye one last time.

Seconds later, I turned the corner. Once I knew I was out of the view of my colleagues, I let loose and full-on wept.

I couldn’t hold it back. Working for Apple was more than a job; Apple was a family. Apple still is my family. I have met some of the most important people in my life through Apple. Mentors, friends, lovers… you name it.

Apple allowed me to put my creative energies to use. It enabled me to move halfway across the country to start over, and it inspired me to strike out on my own.

I learned more working for Apple than I did through all of college and high school combined. I grew more as a person than I could have possibly imagined. Apple filled me with memories and experiences that I will cherish until I die. All of that, those people and memories are a part of me; many of them mean more than anything else ever will. I wouldn’t trade any of it, the good or the bad, for anything.

This morning I woke up in a hostel in Bruges and heard the news. I looked at Twitter, and it was filled with loving, thoughtful comments and not a single one in poor taste. I then looked through Instagram, and it was flooded with photo tributes. Every news site was filled with articles and comments regarding his passing.

And I wept.

I never met the man, I never even saw him in person (though I apparently stood right next to him and didn’t know it), and yet there I was standing on a picturesque bridge in the middle of Bruges on a dreary, cold day openly weeping.

My friend Nick today, posted on his Facebook regarding Steve’s death. He mused on how people feel like they know someone in the public eye when they don’t know their internal person. He said that he hopes Jobs was as good in person as we all like to think he was. I would like to counter that point.

That one man who Nick claims I didn’t know, whom I never met and who probably didn’t even know I existed, profoundly changed my life for the better. For that, I am eternally grateful.

When I heard of his retirement, I did something that I swore as an employee I would never do.

I emailed him.

It was just a simple thank you, basically saying a lot of the things I’m saying here. I have no idea if he read it, and I never will. And that’s okay. I didn’t need anything from him. I didn’t need to know him personally. The Steve I knew, the Apple I knew… it gave me more than enough.

Thank you Steve.


Everybody’s Working For The Weekend?

A few days ago Tim Jahn posed an interesting question on his blog.

In short, Tim’s looking to discover why people work, when they do, and do they draw lines between personal and business at certain hours?

I’m pretty sure I can relate to Tim on this question. Like many others of our generation, Tim leads more than one life, with two jobs (his web development business and his excellent video podcast Beyond The Pedway), and he’s about to be a father. With so much going on, it can be hard to figure out where to draw the line. If anywhere.

This is a question I’ve posed to myself lately as well. I’m pretty darn busy these days. Between working for Apple, taking improv classes, working with Long Pork, blogging, assorted photo and video gigs, and trying to stay active in the social networking scene of all these communities so I can live up to the “localcelebrity” moniker, it’s hard to keep it in control. In some regards, my personal life has taken a hit, not to mention my sleep routine.

The thing is though, I’ve never been happier. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m doing the things I love; I’m “working,” being pretty successful at all of it, and barely any of it feels like work. To me, there is no line, if you love what you’re doing, it won’t feel like a chore, and you won’t need to take a break from it all that often.

I love what I’m doing. I love the people I’m meeting in these different communities. I love the skills I am learning and the things I’m creating. This, to me, is what life is about: constant growth and enrichment. Yes, there are some things I need to change and cut out. But, I am confident that if I keep working at it, keep doing the things I love, and if I don’t let anything get in the way, that it’ll all eventually fall into place.

I read once that Steve Jobs looks himself in the mirror every morning and asks if he wants to go to work, and the day he says no are the days he realizes he needs to change something, and he does. That, to me, is the right mentality to have.

If you love what you do, there are no hours, and you won’t mind.

But who am I to say that? I’m just some jerk blogging from a hostel in Thailand and “working” through the vacation of a lifetime.

(and I couldn’t be happier doing so).