In the case of voice-to-text technologies, however, all writing becomes a kind of rehearsal for verbal interaction. In this light, an important effect of computerized dictation technologies is that they could lead people to become more skillful speakers, and thus more thoughtful participants in meaningful discussions. If writers of the future are composing text almost exclusively through computerized dictation, then they may become more thoughtful and nuanced speakers in the process. That is, the effect of dictation technologies may not be just on our writing, but that they may train us to be better verbal communicators, not just with our machines but with our fellow humans too.
Thought about this very thing today when I was struggling to compose a letter. I was drowning in descriptors and needed to speak aloud to my iPhone voice memo app in order to sort out what I was trying to get at.
Bringing the body and its vital energy up to speed with the age of instant teletechnology means simultaneously abolishing the classic distinction between internal and external, while promoting a finaly type of centrality or, more exactly, hypercentrality— that of time, of some “present” if not “real” time— that has definitely overcome the distinction between periphery and center.
In days gone by, being present meant being close, being physically close to the other in face-to-face, vis-a-vis proximity. This made dialogue possible through the carrying of the voice and eye contact. But with the advent of media proximity, based on the properties of electromagnetic waves, the value of interlocutors’ immediate coming together has suffered from interference, the sudden loss of distance rebounding on “being there,” here and now. If it is true that, from now on, we can not only act at a distance, but even teleact at a distance—see, hear, speak, touch and even smell at a distance— then the unheard-of possibility arises of a sudden splitting of the subject’s personality. This will not leave “body image” — the individual’s self-perception— intact for long…. Sooner or later, intimate perception of one’s gravimetric mass will lose all concrete evidence, and the classic distinction between “inside” and “outside” will go out the window with it. The hypercenter of the real time (or, if you prefer, the living present) of one’s own body—egocentration— will then prevail over the center of the real space of one’s own world—exocentration— the essential notion of being and acting, here and now, losing all sense.
- Paul Virilio, The Art of the Motor, 1993 (trans. 1995) 106-107
Everybody knows that for human beings, as for every living species, the ability to communicate is the indispensable condition of being in the world, that is, of survival. It is an innate ability that normally enables us to distinguish between own immediate environment and the representations we make of it, our mental imagery.
Along with this primary ability to adapt to the world-in-motion that surrounds us, we have the even more complex ability to distinguish between what we think is real and therefore true, and what another individual might consider real and true. Through language (gestural, vocal, graphic), this secondary ability allows us to put ourselves in the other person’s place, to see with his or her eyes, to take advantage of his or her optical system to be warned of an event, to re-present to ourselves people and objects we cannot see or cannot yet see, and to finally act accordingly.
- Paul Virilio, The Art of the Motor, 1993 (trans. 1995)
I know this seems simple but SRSLY PPL.