[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
We humans love a good story. We tell stories to entertain, to inform, even to pass the time. And we’ve been telling tales for, oh, the past 50,000 years. Then came the written word. Writing stuff down has its benefits. It’s more permanent and doesn’t depend on anyone’s memory. And it allows you to take in information at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want. So writing has shaped our culture. But the spoken word may be making a comeback.
Recording and digitizing speech has become easy, which is why you’re hearing me now. It’s also pretty cheap. For example, in the September 26th issue of Science, a researcher at the University of Maryland notes that with about $100 worth of disk storage you can record everything you speak or hear this year. Although he doesn’t say why you’d want to. And now that voice recognition software has gotten better at interpreting speech, we should soon be able to search audio like we do text to find what we want to listen to. Who knows what this might mean for society. Maybe 100 years from now, we’ll finally have a good answer for why Johnny can’t read: because he no longer has to.