So, what are the implications for speech-enabled IVRs if, as Kurzweil predicts, computers become smarter than humans? It isn't hard to imagine the following Blade Runner-like scenario.
[Customer calls a company and reaches a human customer service rep]
- CSR: "All of our computers are currently assisting other customers. If you'd like, I can try to help you. Otherwise, please remain on the line for the next available computer."
- Caller: "NO! Please, just let me talk to a MACHINE!"
Ha ha. We voice interface designers enjoy our little jokes. Seriously, though, people really get bent out of shape when discussing machine intelligence. I think it violates peoples' sense of specialness to have their intellect compared to a computer's. In any case, predictions by Kurzweil and others about the future of technology are great topics for conversation, so long as one keeps things in perspective.