EP 201 Tobias Dengel on the Age of Voice Technology

Jim talks with Tobias Dengel about the ideas in his book The Sound of the Future: The Coming Age of Voice Technology. They discuss the idea that voice tech will be the biggest shift since mobile, the problem of public babble, positives & negatives of current voice tech, changing norms around speaking to devices, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), using LLMs through a voice interface, improving communication cycles for incapacitated people, smart speakers vs smart mics, problems with the voice-to-voice paradigm, multimodal use cases, using voice interfaces for writing, finetuned LLMs in combination with voice tech, using LLMs to check each other, Jim’s method for reducing LLM hallucinations, improving agent performance in customer service, the state of the art in voice-to-text, Baumol’s cost disease, the Jevons paradox, a golden age of innovation, Talon hands-free input, the possibility of a pushback against public babble, coming changes in medicine, privacy issues & the industry’s violation of trust, the uncanny valley, concurrent communication, a new horizon for video games, low-hanging fruit, interfaces between humans and robots, innovations in model testing & training, selecting models, an arms race between models creating content & models curating content, the info agent opportunity, the human capacity for interruptions, defending attention & flow, whether voice tech will make interruptions better or worse, and much more.

Tobias Dengel is president of WillowTree, a TELUS International Company, a global leader in digital product design and development, with 13 offices in North America, South America and Europe, headquartered in Charlottesville VA. The company has been named by Inc. magazine to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies for 11 straight years. WillowTree’s clients include some of the best-known brands in the world, such as T Mobile, Mastercard, Capital One, HBO, Fox, Time Warner, PepsiCo, Regal Cinemas, Charles Schwab, Johnson & Johnson, Lidl, Wyndham Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Holiday Inn, Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Synchrony Bank, Edward Jones Investments, and National Geographic. These industry leaders trust WillowTree to design and develop their websites, apps, internal systems and voice interfaces.