Thursday 24th of July 2014

How hard is it now to talk to minds who can't speak?

For a long time I've thought that blogging is recording History for the Future. I've acted online that way for a decade now.  Even from my little corner of cyberspace you can watch the  changes easlily.  The people who love words (who also tend to put more thinking time into stuff) are finallly getting a chance to show the Merely Verbal Folk that their minds are on an equal level.  I see it daily in the bar, and love it.

There's another idea I'm looking for help on.  For 20 years my family's been helping gigs that are "disability-friendly".  I even shook John Howard's hand for that cause. Mainly due to a lad who had his 21st at the pub and rolled in with a printed thankyou letter.written with an intelligence and compassion so obviously trapped to make the girls behind the bar cry when they read it (dammit, me too), I want to set up a corner where everyone who can communicate can use a screen or two to talk to people they normally wouldn't be able to.. on both sides of that coin.

I don't ask for help often, but if anyone can even give advice on such an idea.. it's bloody well time we use this tech to talk to the minds that can't speak (?)  Surely by now the technology would be too bloody easy.

hi Richard, I don't know if this could help...

My computer  — which is now getting too old to crunch many new "plugins" from the net, including "Flash" — has a speech function. It can read the piece you wrote above with various voices a bit like those of a GPS. It's a bit unemotional of course, like a Stephen Hawkins lecture. I am sure that somewhere someone can invent an emotional APP that could give the necessary colour to the written words of "people who cannot speak". 

I do not know if Apple still has the speech function in its new computers (I know some of its standard features were dropped in favour of BUYING new apps). Mine is a ten year old G5 that still crunches well with old versions of Photoshop and other programs (all legit added to at time of purchase) and all this... Not a single technical hitch in TEN years, unlike the old G4! Touch wood (I am not superstitious), but I have to shut down the computer about twice daily because of crap from the net infiltrating its memory as well as I usually open up to 20 different programs at the time. The symbols on the DOCK bar at the bottom become so small I have no idea which is which. 

The Speech function is in the "Edit" menu of pop up programs such as Safari or Mail (both Apple exclusive) but does not exist in Firefox for example. 

I hope this could be of some help.

Two way street

Thanks Gus!  What I'm more hoping to achieve, though, is a two way street, perhaps using a couple (or more) terminals and a screen to achieve a mutual level of conversation where it hasn't been happening before.  It could be quite an eye-opener, hopefully one that will give ideas a chance to flow more freely where they haven't been able to before.

a conversation between speech and the written word...

Hi Richard,

may I suggest you write to Google, Skype, Microsoft and Apple to come with a solution for your idea as a community goodwill project. I believe someone will come to the fore. 

 

Meanwhile there are, as I have mentioned, reading programs that translate as speech and also some writing words programs from speech. The trick is to make an App than can do both within a reasonable time frame so it can appear to be a conversation between speech and the written word... Awesome.

All the best...