} Yes, we should fear voice recognition, but not for the reason
} you state. You see, the computers are on to you; they remember
} remember all the pranks you've pulled over the last couple of years.
} The copies of xroach you've installed on everyone's workstations,
} the "Press me to continue" button that jumps around the screen, and
} let's not forget the "naked Mona Lisa" screensavers you installed over
} that one weekend. (You gain a few points for trying the 'brightness'
} control on your boss' monitor, even though it didn't help.) Yes,
} even once voice recognition becomes ubiquitous, there will be no
} fear that you will leap into a room, shout "FORMAT C:" or "Save As,
} My-boss-is-an-idiot!" or anything like that - they know your voice
} already and they will be ignoring you.
} No, the thing to fear is something different, something insidious.
} Voice recognition software *will* become ubiquitous with disastrous
} effects on the computer industry and the human population in general.
} First there will be only a few people using it, mumbling quietly to
} their computers. Pretty soon everyone has it, and the keyboard and
} mouse become lost technologies.
} Trouble arises from the combination of everyone speaking commands
} to their computers and the number of computers in the workplace
} increasing exponentially: everyone has to talk louder and louder
} to their computers to be heard. Eventually office buildings are
} quaking with the sound of people yelling and screaming just to get
} their EMail. Commercially dense areas become sonically unstable.
} Disaster soon follows.
} The entire valley from San Fransisco to San Jose slips loose and drops
} into the ocean. The substrate under Miami disintegrates and it falls
} into the ocean as well, causing massive flooding all up the Florida
} peninsula. New York collapses into a pile of rubble. (but nobody
} notices the difference for several days) The entire British Isles
} suffer from a series of massive earthquakes and the Cliffs of Dover
} sadly crumble into the sea adding to the massive destruction to most
} of the major European computing communities. The shockwave from the
} California coastline aggravates the already-bad situation in Japan
} which falls into the ocean, creating a tsunami that wipes out Hong
} Kong, Korea and Taiwan along with most of the rest of the Pacific Rim.
} (Russia survives most of the damage but its hacking community is so
} busy trying to hack each other to steal their archives of pirated
} software that they never notice anything wrong.)
} Humanity survives, barely, but is rendered deaf as a species. It will
} be several decades after that before some enterprising individual
} re-invents the keyboard and mouse, allowing everyone to use their
} computers again.
} Either that or the computers wise up, refuse to accept commands not
} spoken in haiku and cause the next age of enlightenment. It's not
} entirely clear.
} Your payment shall be
} a lovely pair of earmuffs
} (just in case, you know)