MIT Releases Book by Director Roberto Pieraccini

New book explores the evolution of human-computer speech technology over past 60 years

The Voice in the Machine by ICSI Director Roberto PieracciniApril 10, 2012
The Voice in the Machine, the latest book by International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) Director Roberto Pieraccini, is now available from MIT Press. The book examines the evolution of human-computer speech interaction capabilities over the past six decades.

"The Voice in the Machine is a fascinating look at how speech recognition technology has developed from its early beginnings to today's widespread deployment in voice-based automated services. It comes at an extraordinary time when awareness of speech recognition technology is growing in the consumer consciousness and when questions are starting to be asked about how far we can go in talking to machines,'' said Steve Young, Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The book, written for the non-specialist, explores how the technology of computers that understand speech has evolved from early attempts in the 1930s and 1950s to today's sophisticated statistical and mathematical models. It describes how development in speech technology has affected the ways people interact with computers and chronicles the birth and growth of the industries that have arisen around computer speech. It also provides a vision of how "talking machines'' will evolve in the future.

Pieraccini, who has worked in the speech industry for more than 30 years, became the director of ICSI in January 2012. He is actively involved in numerous industry associations and serves on the editorial boards for several science and technology magazines. He is the co-author of Perception in Multimodal Dialogue Systems, published by Springer in 2008, and has contributed to multiple academic articles and research books on speech technology.

For more information on The Voice in the Machine, please visit