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“Casper, Pay Macy’s $65”—John Sculley, Apple, 1992
On March 2, 1992, Apple Computers CEO John Sculley and Computer Speech Researcher Kai-Fu Lee presented Apple’s first voice recognition system called “Casper” on “Good Morning America”. Parts of this technology was integrated into PlainTalk and even today’s Siri. This will look crude to our 2017 eyes, but we can see the Voice First revolution has been slowly building for decades. Casper’s voice recognition engine took just about all the processor resources to decode words and apply simple intents.
Steve Jobs had already been away from Apple since 1985 in the “Palace coup” where Apple’s board sides with John Sculley and striped Steve off all executive duties. By 1992 Steve was at a mid point at NeXT and it would be almost a decade before he returned to Apple and nearly two decades till the release of Siri.
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Casper, Ahead Of Her Time
Although Casper was very limited, it was astounding in 1992. For example, Casper could create a calendar appointment in a rather simple manner. It took to just about 2009 and Siri to get this level of ability. The Voice Payments aspect of Casper are to this day not available in a completely form from any system. Casper was very much ahead of her time, it may take us in 2017 to catch up to all of her abilities.