I text. A lot. There. I’ve admitted it. Text messages are actually pretty useful – especially if used appropriately. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, and everything, a lot of people check their brains at the car door, and insist on texting whilst driving. Pandemonium ensues. And that’s a bad thing.
Governments, insisting that Something Must Be Done, do their typically heavy-handed thang – they ban texting while driving. But technology could offer a better way to deal with texting on the road, and I’m curious as to why nobody’s figured this out.
I have an iPhone (a phone that elicits much the same passion in me that guns did from Charlton Heston…”from my, cold, dead fingers!”). I have a free program installed on it called “Dragon Dictation.” Pretty cool app. It allows you to dictate anything, then converts the audio automagically to text. Does a pretty good job, too. They’ll even let you paste it into a text message. Cool – as far as it goes. But what’s needed – by Nuance (makers of the Dragon app), Apple, or for pity’s sake SOMEBODY – is a full-blown SMS application that will allow you to speak and send – as well as convert the incoming texts to audio, so you can, well…text without um…texting.
This could be a killer app. Or given the number of accidents caused by texting, maybe the ultimate NON-killing app. And it ought to come with every smartphone. But if it can’t be free, at least it could be advertiser-supported – either with visual ads, or with audio ads (like radio, duh!) that would be limited to, say once every 60 seconds or so (and no longer than 5 seconds, please!).
I my experience, there’s no way to legislate common sense. And if you can find a way to enable people to do what they want, and do it safely without venturing too far out of their comfort zones – it’s bound to work. Wouldn’t it be better to have “voice texting” (vText? vSMS?) than just ban it completely? And besides – most people can’t type worth a warm bucket of spit. I can’t believe speech recognition would make messaging a bigger mess than it is now.