Isn’t he lovely? Photo by Jurec, who found this Buddha “who really listens” in a Tempel in Hangzhou, China. www.pixelio.de
Asia is listening as IBM India Research Laboratory tests the World Wide Telecom Web (WWTW), a network of VoiceSites you access by phone. In this alternative to the WWW, users record a description and phone number of the VoiceSite they want to recommend using a regular phone. Callers listen and press a key or say a word when they find a site they want to be transferred to. I wonder how well voice recognition will work in India with its many dialects and languages, or in multilingual Asia and Africa. 70 per cent of the Indian population live in the country on $4 a day or less, so no computers. But 300 million people there use cellphones, with 8 million new subscribers each month. The market is gigantic. Since an astonishing 38.7 per cent of Indian adults can’t read or write, a phone-based web is perfect. (Wikipedia). (reporting: New Scientist, Computerworld)
I wonder: Is this the beginning of a new digital cultural divide? If the Spoken Web is a success, audio will rule there, while we seem to be going with text and video here. OK, we still call our friends and family, but do you leave as much voicemail as you send email? I wonder how this will develop in the next years.