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Talk to Me

How fortunate I feel, since in 1991 we ( the ACUMEN marketing team) came up with a tag line for our logo, Weaving Human Intelligence with the Technology of our Times, that is still relevant today.  You may be aware that I write and speak often about digital transformation and new technology, but nothing in our ACUMEN day has ever replaced Human Intelligence.  I fear that is not the case with so many other technology firms open for business today.

On the more human side, I’ve written a good bit about our ever-evolving technologies in recent weeks and months. In the blog “Confessions of a Car Guy” I talked about my lifelong love affair with cars. You may have noticed that in the article “What is Hip?” I again mentioned cars, but in that case, I was specifically addressing the fact that you can now talk to your car. Does that seem odd to anyone else?

I’m constantly amazed at how many functions can now be controlled verbally. I have Sirius radio in my car and virtually never move from channel to channel using buttons and knobs. Nope, I just say “select station” and that little person inside the screen will do all that heavy lifting for me.

And of course, when I make a handsfree phone call all I need to do is say “dial number” and the deed is done. That’s not to say that the voice recognition system doesn’t make errors. In fact, a couple of times when I’ve instructed the system to call my wife on her cell phone I’m pretty sure I got someone else’s wife. Good thing I was careful about my first few words. Whew!

One feature I really like is how the car gives me turn by turn directions using the GPS feature. In my car I get a rather sexy sounding female British voice gently and quietly guiding me to my destination.  Hope that makes you envious.

Kidding aside I sometimes have to reflect on what a pain it was when we all used those maps you picked up at the local gas station or from AAA. If you are old enough to remember those you will remember that unless you had someone in the passenger seat, you were forced to pull over to unfold and study the map looking for the logical route to your destination. And forget about refolding the map. Couldn’t be done.

So as odd as it may seem, I’m getting rather used to talking to my car and having it talk back. I do take offense when it tries to correct my diction of course, but that’s a small matter.

The bottom line is that all the features above fall into the category of “enabling technologies” and address specific needs.  Human Intelligence creates them, and so far, has not been replaced.  I’m happy to say, though, that I have adapted fairly well to the voice recognition revolution.  And as a final thought I do have to say that giving verbal commands allows one to keep his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

That is unless you find yourself looking down and yelling at the system to find the correct station or phone number. It happens.  And speaking of talking, if you’d like to talk to us rather than your car or your watch like the gentleman pictured, send us a note at

Just sayin’.