How a 50-Year-Old Speech Recognition Technology Became Today’s Voice Assistant

91 million people in the U.S. use this tech at least once a month

Video: Josh Rios; Editor: Breana Mallamaci
Headshot of Chris Ariens

Using technology for speech recognition has been around for decades, first introduced by IBM in 1961. The Shoebox, as it was called, recognized 16 words and numbers zero through nine.

It took another 50 years of technology enhancements, super-fast internet connectivity and the cloud to bring about the massive growth in virtual assistants we see today. Ninety-one million people in the U.S. alone use a voice assistant at least once a month, according to eMarketer.

But how exactly do voice assistants work? How does a question get answered quickly and accurately? And how is it that many queries aren’t satisfied? Josef Sperzel, vp director of SEO at MullenLowe Mediahub has the answers in the video above.


@ChrisAriens chris.ariens@adweek.com Chris Ariens is the managing editor and director of video at Adweek.