Dialogue with a Monologue: Voice Chips and the Products of Abstract Speech






  • This paper argues that voice chips and speech recognition chips can be used as a unique analytic tool for understanding the complex techno-social interactions that define, imagine, and produce new products. Using these chips as an in situ instrument allows a focus on products in their actual context of use, capturing the multiple interpretations of new technologies, and a method to analyze their failures and successes in human machine interaction. It is the use of voice that is direct evidence of the interactive, particularized and social aspects of products that are traditionally underrepresented in the attempts to understand technological innovation, design, and deployment.


  • References
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    2. While most communication theorists account for the social world, building a framework for understanding communication is often at odds with accounting for the diversity of possible experiences of language and the modulation of each social position. Austins work that looks at not how a language is composed but what it does, from where it does it. See Austin, J. (1980). How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University Press; or Volosinov, V. (1973). Marxi’sm and the philosophy of/a,iguage. New York: Seminar Press.

    3. Quoted from the North American Patent literature.

    4. Pacific Bell voice mail system 1996, 1997, and AT&T automated customer help.

    5. Benveniste, E. The nature of pronouns problems (1956) showed how linguistic categories not only allow human subjects to refer to themselves but actually create the parameters of human self-consciousness. ” Ego is he who says ego. That is where we see the foundation of subjectivity which is determined by the linguistic status of person. Consciousness of self is only possible if it is experienced by contrast. I use I only when I am speaking to someone who will be a you in my address.” p. 225 The linguistic category such as “I” relies wholly on the identity of the speaker for its meaning.

    6. Latour, B. and J. Johnson. (1988). Mixing humans and nonhumans together: The sociology of the door-closer, social problems, Vol. 35, 298-310; Callon, M. Four models for the cynamics of science. In Sheila Jasanoff, Gerald E. Markle, James C. Petersen and Trevor Pinch (eds). (1995). Handbook of science and technology studies. Thousand Oaks, CA, London & New Dehli: Sage Publications, 29-63.

    7. Callon, M. and J. Law. (1982). On interests and their transformations: Enrollment and counter-enrollment. Social Studies of Science, Vol 12, 615-25.

    8. Latour published the book Science in action (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987) in 1987, while in Dallas, June 11 1978, Texas Instruments Incorporated announced the launch of its speech synthesis monolithic integrated circuit in the new talking learning aid, SPEAK &SPELL(tm). The speech synthesizer JC accurately reproduced human speech from stored (a capacity of 200 seconds in dynamic ROM) or transmitted digital data, in a chip fabricated using the same process as that of the TI calculator MOS I Cs.

    9. See M. Patons forthcoming Social Studies of Science paper for a detailed examination of the initial construction of the virtues and values of the phonograph recording technology.

    10. Minneman, S. (1991). The social construction of engineering reality. (PhD dissertation, Stanford University.

    11. Hallmark card first included voice chips in their cards in 1988. Five years later they introduced a recordable card on which you could record your own voice.

    12. Nissan Maxima 1986.

    13. Barbie said three things when she was given a voice in late 1980s: “Meet me at the Mall,” “Math is Hard,” and “I like school, don’t you?”

    14. Machina R , a San Francisco based company, had on the market in 1997 several talking pens or “Pencorders,” talking keyring, several talking photoframes and many “Cardcorders,” including “Autonotes.”

    15. Saccahrin is claimed to be the first product to be parasite marketed, i.e. “this product uses saccharin.”

    16. Turkle, S. (1984). The second self. New York: Simon and Schuster, 31.

    17. A complete list of the collected products and patents is attach in the appendix. A full list is available at httpl/cdr.stanford.edu/-njj/vcprods. This is being updated constantly.

    18. Patent# 4863385 Sept 5 1989.

    19. Patent# 5313557 May 17 1994.

    20. Patent# 5014301 May 7 1991. 21. Patent # 4812968 Mar 14 1989.

    22. Patent# 4951032 Aug 21 1990.

    23. Patent# 4863385 Sept 5 1989.

    24. Patent#5315285 May 24 1994.

    25. Patent# 4987402 Jan 22 1991.

    26. Patent# 5117217 May 26 1992.

    27. Patent # 5254805 Oct 19 1993.

    28. Patent# 5275285 Jan 4 1994.

    29. Patent# 5481904 Jan 9 1996.

    30. Patent# 5555286 Sept IO 1996.

    31. Turkle op. cit. note 16 demonstrates how children enter into social relationships with their computers and computer games in which they thinking of it as alive and get competitive, angry, they scold it, and even want revenge on it. She finds that they respond to the rationality of the computer by valuing in themselves what is most unlike it. That is, she raises the concern that they define themselves in opposition to the computer, dichotomizing their feeling and their thinking.

    32. Patent# 5413516 May 9 1995.

    33. Patent# 5029214 July 2 1991.

    34. Work and the products of work can be shown to take on meaning that transcend their use value in commodity capitalism see Willis, S. (1991). Primer/or daily life. New York: Routledge.

    35. Patent# 5140632 Aug 18 1992. Telephone having voice capability adapter.

    36. Shields, R. ed. (1992). Lifutyle shopping: The subject of consumption. New York: Routledge.

    37. Within the patent literature what appeared in relation to transportation were: 5555286 Cellular phone based automatic emergency vessel/vehicle location system: translates a verbal rendition of latitude and longitude to cell phone; 5509853 Automobile interior ventilator with voice activation: which queries the driver when door closes and gives menu options; 5508685 vehicle and device adapted to revive a fatigued driver: a voice reminder combined with spray device; 5428512 Sidelighting arrangement and method: voice warning of impending obstacle; 5045838 Method and system for protecting automotive appliances against theft; 5278763 Navigation Aids(presumably for application in transportation); 4491290 Train defect detecting and annunciation system.

    38. See The New York Times discussion.

    39. This is in contrast to the popular depiction of cars with voices on mainstream television, in programs such as “My Mama was a Car” or “Night Rider” on CBS, the voice was used to lend the car personality.

    40. Zuboff, S. (1984). In the age of the smart machine: Thefuture of workand power. New York: Basic Books. In particular, see The abstraction of industrial work, 58.

    41. See Fabbri, F. (1981). A theory of musical genres: Two applications. In Popular music perspectives, eds. David Horn and Phillip Tagg. Gothenburg and Exter: International Association for the Study of Popular Music.

    42. See Oswald, L. (1996). The place and space of consumption in a material world. Design issues, Vol. 12 (I), who describes the site for purchasing produce as the staging of the subject in consumer culture.

    43. Stock felt supports her work with Tagg and Clarida studies on listeners responses to film and television title themes that demonstrate common competence of adequately understanding and contextually placing different musical structures. That listeners for the. most part understand the musical semiotic content in such situations in similar ways, across cultural areas that are more dissimilar.See also Tagg, P. (1979) Kojak, 50 seconds of television music: Toward the analysis of affect in popular music.

    44. The symphony of the “Sirens” first performed in 1923, Arseni Avraamov.

    45. In particular, the products that use speech and music interchangeably: the childrens applications, bells and whistles substitute for spoken encouragement, or the alarm systems that will use vocal warnings or sirens sounds, the pen patent #4812068.

    46. To relate the voice chip to the socio-linguistic universe and its emphasis on the place of language within it, interprets the social system as a semiotic, and stresses the systematic aspects of it. We cannot simply assume that the concept of a system itself and the concept of function (of language) within that system is the most appropriate starting point. However this assumption underlies most of the guidelines developed for computational models of speech and is thus appropriate for discussion of the voice chip.

    47 Austin, J.L. (1980). How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The general point of which was not to look at how language is composed but what it does.

    48 Searle uses this list to introduce his paper: Searle, J. (1972). What is a speech act? In P.P. Giglioli ed. Language and social context. Harmond worth: Penguin.

    49 Stanley Fishs essay How to do things with austin and searle. In Is there a text in this class? The Authority of Interpretative Communities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980, 244 analyses Coriolanus as a speech-act play. When Coriolanus responds to his banishment from Rome by stating a defiant “I banish you” the discrepancy in the illocurionary force in both the performatives of banishmenr is obvious. Rome, embodying the power of the state and community vs. Coriolanus sincere wish to banish Rome, i.e. his intentionality, is illustrative.

    50 Broadcast voices and prerecorded voices although abstracted onto technologies still belong to an identity, however it is the combined sense of abstraction that connotes 73 jon@lasser.org (J. Lasser). the identity of the voice as that of the car. This could be interpreted alternatively as 74 butler@comp-lib.org (Michael M. Butler). an abstracted voice of authority performed by the car or the abstraction of the car 75 wapel@tc.cac.edu.eg. itself. 76 xiane@entech.com.

    51 “If certain stable forms appear to emerge or recur in talk, they should be under- 77 spiff@bway.net. stood as an orderliness wrested by the participants from interactional contingency, 78 monitoring for swear words. rather than as automatic products of standardized plans. Form, one might say, is 79 zoeluna@bellsouth.net (Dave Whitlock). also the distillate of action and interaction, not only its blueprint. If that is so m 80 zoel una@bellsouth.net. then the description of forms of behavior, forms of discourse … included, has to 81 see Judith Bulter (1996). include interaction among their constitutive domains, and not just as the stage on 82 Dosi, G. (1985). Technological paradi’gms and technological t,·ajectories research polwhich scripts written in the mind are played out,” (E. Schegloff). Discourse as an icy 11 :1982) 147-162; and Clark, K. The Interaction of design hierarchies and interactional achievement: some uses of”uh huh” and other things that come market concepts in technological evolution. In Re:,;earch policy 14, 235-251. between sentences. In Georgetown University Round table on language and lin- 83 See for instance Zuboff op. cit. note 40. guistics: Analyzing discourse text and talk. D.Tannen, ed. (1982). Washington, 84 This list is available at cat.nyu.edu/neologues and is being updated constantly. It DC: Georgetown University Press, 73. includes images and product literature and when possible an audio file record-

    52 Patent# 4517412 the card actuated telecommunication network is an example of ing of the voices. 30 this. “Local processor 11 controls a voice chip 15 coupled to telephone set 10 which interacts with the caller during the card verification process.”

    53 L Suchman, L. (1987). Plans and situated action: The problem of human machine communication. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Suchman explains that this interpolation of verbal nuances and the coherence that the structure represents is actually achieved moment by moment, as a local, collaboratively, sequential accomplishment. The actual enactment of the interaction is an essentially local production, accomplished collaboratively in real time rather than born whole out of the speakers intent of cognitive plan, 68-98.

    54 lbid.,81, 125. Suchman uses the example of the joint production of a single sentence to demonstrate the fluid division of labor in speaking. and listening.

    55 Ibid., 78

    56 Ibid., 83.

    57 product innovation for corporate continuity – assessing the life expectancy of corporate products.

    58 A longer analysis in Jeremijenko forthcoming.

    59 A.M.Dixon@shu.ac.uk MikeyMoneyMinder.

    60 Ibid.

    61 zoeluna@bellsouth.net.

    62 Ibid.

    63 Ibid.

    64 Afrench@iss.net (Andre French).

    65 nocturnologue.

    66 mit emotive interaces again – brooks; this is in contrast to the Shneiderman et al work that argues that this works against control.

    67 Wristwatch sidekick.

    68 This is a version of the gestural value of hand held and portable devices identified