Voice recognition technology has come a long way in recent years. Nuance Dragon Legal is the market leader and LawFuel took the opportunity to interview Asia Pacific Business manager for the company to find out exactly how the latest version is changing the way lawyers work – and what’s in store.
Q & A for Lawfuel New Zealand on Nuance Dragon Legal/Voice recognition technology
Derek Austin on the Future of Nuance Dragon Legal and the Power of Voice
Derek Austin, Dragon Business Manager, Asia Pacific for Nuance Communications, explores the future of Nuance Dragon Legal and its implications for the legal fraternity, as well as how voice recognition technology will shape our future world.
Today, Nuance’s Dragon Legal voice recognition solution delivers numerous benefits for lawyers including fast and accurate dictation and transcription of documents, enhanced productivity, improved workflows, and even ergonomic benefits. What can users expect from Dragon Legal in the future?
We are constantly refining and empowering Dragon Legal and in the future it will become even easier to use. For example, the ancient requirement for an hour’s training to set up your initial profile is long gone. Today, a 30 second check of your audio is all that’s required to get Dragon up and going. In the future, even this requirement will disappear.
The latest machine learning technology has already given Dragon Legal greater power to understand a wider range of accents and to adapt to changing audio environments. Recognition is key to Dragon software and we will continue to apply the latest technology to wring further improvements in these areas.
Also, Dragon has always had to develop alongside IT infrastructure, adapting to new Windows versions, applications and browsers.
The move to cloud and the ubiquity of mobile devices poses many challenges for software vendors, but particularly for Dragon, which has required an intimate association with the underlying systems software to deliver its benefits to lawyers.
. . lawyers will be able to simply dictate file notes onto their device and forward them to their PMS immediately after a client meeting
In the US, Nuance has introduced Dragon Anywhere – a cloud service that runs within an application on your iPhone, iPad or Android device. It integrates with Dragon desktop software to share word lists and other information.
Once available in New Zealand, this application will offer lawyers the power of desktop Dragon Legal on their mobile device. With Dragon Anywhere, lawyers will be able to simply dictate file notes onto their device and forward them to their PMS immediately after a client meeting. Dragon Anywhere is all about greater convenience and productivity while on the move.
Specifically, Dragon Legal New Zealand handles the local accent with ease, it comes with a built-in legal vocabulary and the software also lets lawyers create, import and share custom word lists (including Maori words) relevant to clients and areas of specialty. How will Nuance improve on this capability in the future?
Our research indicates that the majority of speakers now find Dragon Legal to be accurate. The challenge is for individuals who haven’t learnt the skill of dictation to add this to their personal repertoire and achieve the efficiency gains that Dragon provides.
For firms that want to achieve the efficiency and productivity gains of speech recognition, the challenge is to introduce and institutionalise such software as part of their standard workflows.
It is also important to note that a lot of existing Dragon Legal power remains under utilised. For instance, larger firms can create dedicated Dragon vocabularies for their own organisations or even departments to achieve greater accuracy and consistency among users.
. . we are continually looking for firms willing to share documents with us so that we can expand the local legal corpus to be more representative
Dragon Legal also offers powerful automation capabilities for often-used text and voice commands that can raise productivity further. To truly maximise the benefits of Dragon Legal, firms should consider implementing such capabilities.
In the era of big data, you can never have too much data! In terms of our built-in legal vocabulary in Dragon Legal New Zealand, we are continually looking for firms willing to share documents with us so that we can expand the local legal corpus to be more representative. This provides direct benefits to the firm as the standard product is to some extent tailored for its own use.
How do you envisage that Dragon Legal will shape/impact the working life of lawyers in the future?
My personal belief is that Dragon Legal will remain the most accurate way to create legal documents by voice for some years to come.
It is also highly likely that more flexible ways of using Dragon Legal will be introduced to take advantage of mobile and wearable devices as well as cloud and mobile infrastructure.
These changes are likely to make lawyers’ lives more fulfilling by further reducing manual tasks like typing, and increasing the time available for problem-solving and higher order thinking.
Apart from driving document creation, is speech recognition technology being applied to new applications?
In 10 years we will move to a world where “Dragon” is taken for granted and the focus is on what is delivered above and beyond mere speech recognition.
One area of continuing development is the technology’s ability to recognise multiple speakers simultaneously, and successfully transcribe meetings and general conversations. It is a complex field, but once mastered, it will have significant implications for the software’s use in call centres, emergency services, health facilities and so on.
The application of AI techniques to human-computer interactions will add another dimension to speech recognition technology. This will lead to systems that can apply logic to what a lawyer, doctor or other professional writes, and eventually, to a conversation that the professional is having with clients, and offer analysis and suggestions regarding the matter in hand.
Nuance is already developing these kinds of applications for the healthcare industry. Moving forward, they are likely to be leveraged and applied to other industry sectors.
Do you believe that voice biometrics could literally become a person’s ‘key’ for activating their computer, mobile, car, home, in essence, their world in the future?
The security mantra for multifactor authentication is having at least two of these three things: something you know, something you have, and something you are.
Voice is something you have and Nuance can determine with high reliability whether you are who you say you are!
Your voiceprint can therefore certainly be used as part of a security system, particularly when you are talking over the phone, mobile or Internet.
Voice biometrics can also be applied in more interesting ways. For example, imagine a TV that can automatically recognise who is ordering it to change the channel or switch to an R-rated movie.
There’s no doubt that the future of voice and particularly interactive voice fuelled by AI is bright – we are only just beginning to scratch the surface.