Many people use voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri on a daily basis. With a simple voice command, this intelligent software can read the news, play music, control electronic devices and carry out many other tasks. While some aspects of voice recognition technology have already been introduced to the law enforcement industry, this technology is evolving at a rapid pace and is likely to provide major benefits to law enforcement in the next few years.
Having access to a voice assistant can benefit nearly all aspects of police work, from drafting incident reports to interviewing witnesses to crimes. Here is a closer look at the evolution of voice assistants, how they work and how they can benefit law enforcement.
How Voice Assistants Work
Since their emergence in 2014, voice assistants have gained steady popularity. This technology uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make completing simple or time-consuming tasks easier. AI, combined with machine learning, works by recognizing the human voice and responding based on the words that are used. Today, voice assistant software can be found on smartwatches, smart speakers, tablets, cell phones and many other devices.
The voice recognition software used by modern voice assistants uses the following basic processes:
- Filter words said by the user
- Digitize the user’s speech into a format that the device can read
- Analyze the user’s speech for meaning
- Determine the user’s needs based on user input and algorithms
Evolution of Voice Assistants
Voice assistant technology has gone through a wide array of changes over the last several decades. Software such as the Dragon’s Speech Recognition led the way with features of voice recognition and transcription.
The modern era of voice assistants began with Siri, which was the first voice assistant to reach a large audience. Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now followed suit. In 2014, Amazon introduced the Echo smart speaker and Alexa voice assistant, technologies that are used by much of the U.S. population.
Customizing Voice Assistant Tools for Law Enforcement
While the average person uses voice assistants for making grocery lists or streaming music, these technologies are capable of much more. The law enforcement industry is starting to leverage voice assistant technology to eliminate common mistakes and save a considerable amount of time.
Police can use this technology for a variety of tasks, such as confirming information on the scene of a crime, recording important details during investigations or managing multiple calls at once. Police officers spend a large amount of time managing reports and other documentation but voice assistants can help them significantly cut down on time-consuming paperwork.
Voice Assistants and Security
One of the biggest concerns involving the use of voice assistant technology is confidentiality. Conversations with voice assistants are clearly audible, meaning that confidential information reported by law enforcement could possibly be overheard by unauthorized personnel. There are also security concerns in connection with voice assistants. Security of audible transactions requires a series of improvements, including the use of two or more factors of authentication.
Issues of confidentiality may be remedied by using this technology in designated areas only, and or incorporating the use of earpieces to prevent information from being overheard.
Benefits of Voice Assistants
There are many benefits when introducing voice assistant technology to police departments and law enforcement agencies at all levels. First, this software can be used to improve report management and workflows. Law enforcement involves voluminous amounts of documentation that is often tedious and hinders officer productivity. With voice assistants, police can verbally report information, create incident reports and complete other tasks more quickly and with greater accuracy.
Voice assistants can also provide law enforcement with other benefits, such as increased officer situational awareness. When officers are forced to type incident reports in their patrol vehicles, they are vulnerable to environmental risks as they focus on the computer screen and not on their surroundings. Voice assistants allow officers to remain vigilant as the software completes tasks.
The Future of Voice Assistants
The future of voice assistant technology is advancing. Modern companies are working hard to create innovative software that can save police considerable amounts of time, nearly eliminate inaccuracies and ensure that no important data is overlooked. In the future, voice assistant technology may evolve to allow these AI-based systems to pull valuable information from the vast amounts of data collected by police. Having this capability could prove highly valuable in investigations.
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