Description: Digital Corporation sponsors a demonstration of the evolution of voice technology at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. A moderator and a group of speakers answer questions from the audience about voice technology and computing technology. The speakers and audience discuss the importance of access to this technology by the blind and disabled. The moderator introduces musician Stevie Wonder. A short clip of Saturday Night Live is played, featuring Stevie Wonder as a news reporter. Wonder speaks to the audience about the opportunities provided to him through technology. He explains the transition from acoustic technology to a more visual technology in terms of music. Wonder discusses his experiences with technology and explains how he works with a Kurzweil reading machine, a DECtalk computer and a synthesizer to compose music. He explains how technology helps further opportunity. Wonder thanks the creators of this technology. Tape 1 of 2
0:59:59: Visual: A man stands at a podium, talking about the evolution of voice technology at a demonstration of the Kurzweil voice recognition machine at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The man talks about the applications of voice technology in computer-assisted instruction. He talks about speech synthesis and speech recognition as two components of computer-assisted instruction devices. The man says that computer-assisted instruction devices can help young children learn. 1:01:36: V: The audience applauds. The moderator invites the audience to ask questions of the speakers. The speakers are gathered beside the podium, in front of a large banner for the Digital Corporation. The moderator talks about Digital's commitment to promoting and furthering technology in the interests of the company and the greater community. An audience member asks about the sales of the voice recognition machine. The moderator says that the product is successful; that sales figures are not the focus of this conference. 1:03:26: V: The man who spoke answers a question at the podium. The man talks about silicon technology. He says that the price of silicon chips will continue to decline. He says that his company has an active research and development team; that they are working hard to incorporate the latest technology into their products. The man predicts that the future will bring more powerful devices at lower costs; that companies in the field would like to provide computing devices which are affordable for individuals. Another man says that blind people can benefit from voice recognition machines which are available at their workplaces or through community organizations. He notes that blind people can access the machines in these ways, even if they cannot afford to buy one. The first man quotes a statistic indicating that two-thirds of all blind college students have access to a Kurzweil reading machine through their college campuses. The man notes that the Xerox Corporation donated reading machines to many college campuses. A third man approaches the podium. He says that many corporations are interested in donating machines to appropriate organizations; that corporations want to provide access to the machines. 1:05:33: V: The moderator tells the audience that there will be a question and answer period after the presentation of Stevie Wonder (pop singer). A fourth man talks about Wonder's Kurzweil music synthesizer. The man talks about Wonder's involvement with technology. The man talks about Wonder's accomplishments and his efforts to establish a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King (African American civil rights leader). The man talks about recent awards given to Wonder. 1:07:00: V: The audience applauds as Wonder enters the room. A man guides Wonder to the podium. Wonder introduces a video presentation, which begins to play. The video presentation shows Wonder doing a parody of a music critic on Saturday Night Live (late night TV show). 1:09:09: V: Wonder talks about the opportunities provided to him through technology. Wonder talks about the contributions made to the technology which allows him to communicate more fully. Wonder says that technology is his "little sister, big brother, mother and father. I get inspired by it." He talks about learning and developing along with technology. Wonder says that he was first introduced to technology through learning the Braille language; that the Braille language provided him with a fundamental understanding of technology; that he applies that lesson to the machines he encounters today. Wonder says that technology has become more visual; that blind people need to be able to read or hear visual displays on machines. Wonder thanks the technological community for allowing him to access to technology through voice recognition. Wonder says that he used a Teleprompter for the blind during his appearance on Saturday Night Live. Wonder talks about his portable Braille machine, which allows him to access information on a cassette tape. Wonder talks about the pleasure of reading a book through the Kurzweil reading machine. Wonder talks about the DECtalk machine. Wonder says that the DECtalk machine can read Braille input in English. Wonder talks about the usefulness of the DECtalk machine. Wonder says that he will show the audience how the DECtalk machine can read the visual output of a Kurzweil machine, which allows him to use synthesizers without relying on visuals. Wonder says that he is frustrated that these machines are not more accessible to the blind. Wonder says that this technology must be made available to the handicapped and non-handicapped alike; that demand for the product will lead to greater access. Wonder urges the technology community to apply its skill to create greater access for all people. Wonder thanks the creators of the technology and the audience. The audience applauds.
Collection: Ten O'Clock News
Date Created: 04/29/1985