With Rapid Developments in Voice Technology, What Does it Mean for Our Privacy?

14 January 2021
With Rapid Developments in Voice Technology, What Does it Mean for Our Privacy?

Posted: 22/08/19

The rapid advancement of AI technology has led to benefits in numerous business sectors and one area where this is apparent is in the global voice and speech recognition market.  Academics and industry leaders came together today (Thursday August 22nd 2019) to discuss some of the concerns associated with voice enabled technology, look at the potential for its application, and discuss cutting-edge advances in the field at the inaugural Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI) which was organised by Dr Benjamin Cowan and Dr Leigh Clark of the world-leading SFI Research Centre ADAPT and UCD’s School of Information and Communication Studies.

Voice technology has grown alongside the proliferation of voice control-based smart devices.  Technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have helped propel voice technology into the mainstream with application in sectors such as healthcare, banking, customer services and sales.  The CUI Conference aims to provided a platform for academics and industry leaders to discuss the future of these voice enabled systems and shape how they can be developed with the user in mind.

Speaking about the technology, Dr Benjamin Cowan said: “Our interactions with voice systems are currently question-answer interactions but developments in the technology could see Artificial Intelligence power these systems to be more conversational with an ability to adapt and evolve.  Although there is huge potential for this type of interaction we need to ensure that we can trust these systems to do what we ask them to accurately, especially as they move into more sensitive domains such as healthcare.”

Pioneering researcher in the field, Professor Susan E. Brennan of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, spoke about her research into the human use of technology, especially speech and language interfaces to computers.  Another renowned speaker, Professor Cosmin Munteanu of the University of Toronto Mississauga provided insights into the developments in human-computer interaction and how speech-recognition technology was advancing.

Interest in the CUI Conference highlighted the interest in the growing area of voice technology and it is planned to become an annual event.  Dr Cowan noted: “As speech and language technologies become commonplace, it is crucial that we understanding how to make these better suited for the user. The CUI conference brings leading researchers in this field to Dublin where we’ll be discussing chatbot design, intelligent personal assistant user challenges, ethics, privacy and trust and how we can harness the fundamental principles of conversation to design more effective voice and language technologies of the future.”

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