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Until recently, it would have been faster to type this article than to dictate it. But no more: Researchers at Stanford University, along with the University of Washington and Chinese search giant Baidu, conducted a study measuring and comparing the relative speeds of typing on a keyboard and dictating to speech-recognition software.

Guess what? The robots won. In fact, it wasn’t even close—dictators were not only three times faster than typists, but they also made fewer mistakes. The researchers credit growth in artificial intelligence tech, as well as better smartphone microphones.

This finding may force us to confront a new issue: people have gotten out of the habit of dictating. Composing sentences in your head before speaking them out loud is one of those skills that’s not really cultivated anymore. I should know. I dictated this article to Google’s voice-recognition software. The technology worked fine; the problem is I’m not sure my brain works fast enough for it.


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