Part of a Microsoft announcement:-

Microsoft believes the value proposition of speech technology is clear: it stands to reduce costs associated with call center agents. A typical customer service call costs $5 to $10 to support, while an automated voice recognition system can lower that to 10 cents to 30 cents per call. Additionally, voice recognition technology can be used to give employees access to critical information while on the move.

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Currently IBM offers solutions based on VoiceXML and Java, and has helped develop a new specification, X+V (a combination of XHTML and VoiceXML) for multimodal access. For instance, it crafted a system for investment management firm T. Rowe Price, which allows customers to access and manage their accounts through natural conversations by utilizing IBM WebSphere Voice Server with Natural Language Understanding.

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Computers That Speak Your Language
Voice recognition that finally holds up its end of a conversation is revolutionizing customer service. Now the goal is to make natural language the way to find any type of information, anywhere.

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NativeMinds, Inc., a provider of natural language customer service software for the Internet, announced that the Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) , an information broker to the U.S. Defense Department (DoD), is using the company's virtual representative technology to support online customer service and reduce costs.

Microsoft office helped replace the secretary, if you currently work in a call centre or as telephonist?

Job security in a virtual / A.I. / nanotech future, what a laughable concept.