What's the next step in the never-ending battle for greater realism and higher sales? The experts were nearly unanimous: before too long computers will be able to understand and respond to your speech. Speech recognition is extremely difficult to accomplish because of the complexities of the English language and the variations between voices, but several systems have been developed, including the Covox Voicemaster system for the Commodore 64. Mozer thinks that eventually computer manufacturers may include speech recognition capabilities as a part of the computer. It sounds like fun to me: I can think of quite a few things to say to that ghost that slimed me in Ghostbusters.

Voicemaster System by Covox

With built-in speech synthesis and speech recognition, you and your Commodore can sit down for a heart-to-heart chat or, more realistically, you will be able to use your home computer, with a modem, as an intelligent telephone answering machine. Not surprisingly, ESS is just putting the finishing touches to a system which does exactly that.

If there is any doubt about whether synthesized speech is here to stay or not, check into the specifications for Commodore's new wonder machine, the Amiga. Speech synthesis is built-in to the Amiga, and software companies are rushing to put it to use. So get used to hearing your computer talk back.

Where Are They Now?

Professor Forrest Mozer still works for the University of California, Berkeley but now in the role of Associate Director of Space Sciences. Professor Mozer has been responsible for pioneering work in the area of electrical field measurements and space plasma, where he has also been awarded the EGU Hannes Alfven Medallist 2004. He has continued to maintain his roots in sound research and was involved in the Mars Microphone project to record sounds from the surface of Mars!

His son Todd Mozer continued his Father’s breakthrough in speech synthesis technology and now runs the global company Sensory Inc. which researches and manufactures products for advanced speech recognition. Todd has appeared on television shows like Tech Closeup based in California, USA - discussing his companies line of products and numerous articles have been published online about Sensory Inc.

Todd Mozer Sensory Inc
Todd Mozer - Sensory Inc.

rticle reproduced from Commodore User magazine October 1985 edition.
Although all text appears unchanged - the Where Are They Now? is an addition to the original article.
Some photographs or images have been added or modified for aesthetic purposes.

Thank you to the following websites which were used for sourcing some images that appear in this article:
Tech Closeup, Ebay, SPRG