Chapter 1Alexa, Hello

Voice is powerful. The words you say can make someone smile and laugh, with equal capacity for bringing tears or stirring anger. The spoken word can inspire, educate, and command. New parents are overjoyed when their baby says their first word, while veteran parents are often exasperated by the words said by their teenager. The ability to speak and be heard is one of the most versatile and potent abilities given to humans.

Until recently, however, computers and the applications we use haven’t been able to share that power with us. We have been forced to communicate with computers by typing, clicking, tapping, and reading a screen—an interface that is natural to computers, even if unnatural to humans.

Voice platforms ...

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