Are Keyboards Outdated?

In the fourth grade, my classmates and I were required to partake in weekly typing lessons so we could become proficient in the latest technology. While I’m sure typing lessons are a thing of the far past, I can’t help but wonder if all keyboards will soon become a distant memory. This thought was sparked by an article written in CNET. During the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, a group of technicians described new technology that is prepared to take on the job of a basic keyboard.

This new technology is being described as a similar combination of Siri and Kinect, creating a voice and gesture recognition program. During the panel where this concept was explained, many in the audience had questions about spelling out exactly what you want by talking. Pattie Maes, department head of MIT’s Media Lab, explained this as the limitations of “natural language.” Maes says, “that process isn’t always more convenient than tapping some keys or a button.” Because human speech is often connected to speech inflection, emotions and facial expressions, technicians understand that this application can only be applied to certain devices.

While these devices are still in the beginning stages of development, Wendy Ju, executive director for interaction design research at Stanford University, notes that “more could be done to make the process interactive.”

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