The computer display is a beautiful thing. I've seen an evolution in display resolution, colors, and the like and I just love looking at them. The type and amount of data that can be displayed for whatever topic are quite extraordinary. The parts I don't like are the elaborate and overly clever user interfaces leveraging humans' amazing object permanence ability. The menus, combo boxes, tree controls, list boxes, etc. that stand between me and my data stink. I call this “user interface handcuffs”. Handcuffs are what the user interface is to people. It limits them because it is the only control mechanism to access data. I like everyone, have seen many people struggle mightily looking for features or trying to use them once found with these interfaces. A lot of time people give up, get frustrated or try to make use of features in ways that satisfy a need in the most minimal fashion.
Having a natural language interface instead turns the display into a beautiful collection of your data as it should be. You randomly access the information you want through your voice and see all your data. You may ask questions about how to do something or if something is possible through the voice. This is indeed the way interfaces need to be designed. It is not a fantasy anymore and is waiting for designers/developers to implement. NOW! Transcription is virtually perfect for the most part and given most applications have a finite set of functions/domain they operate in its achievable today. It takes religion, however, to want to do this for customers. It's a drastic change in thinking. When done, however, it will enable customers to accomplish so much more with small amounts of friction to do it.
For developers, natural language interfaces will shift their efforts to an area that is so much more productive for the customers. It will also really make it easier for developers and user interface designers. Implementation of visual user interfaces is tough due to the number of controls, preciseness, and constraints on 2-dimensional screens. It’s a lot of work.
Natural language processing is the key to removing the “user interface handcuffs” and improving productivity 100x, easily.