Where No One Has Gone Before
A conversational AI zeitgeist moment looms with this week's series finale of Star Trek: Picard
This issue of This Week In Voice VIP is sponsored by DeepZen, the synthetic voice company that has been featured in the news twice in recent weeks, once in Wall Street Journal’s piece on synthetic voice in audiobooks and the other within NBC News’ reporting on the same topic. The company will be featured at this week’s London Book Fair. You can learn more about the company here.
This issue of This Week In Voice VIP contains NO SPOILERS regarding any part of the currently airing Season 3 of Star Trek: Picard, including this week’s highly anticipated conclusion of the two-part series finale.
Famous American composer Jerry Goldsmith composed the score for 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In doing so, he had some music that had been left on the cutting room floor, that didn’t quite fit in to the theme of the film starring Captain Kirk, Spock, and Bones.
When Paramount producers needed a theme song, a decade later, for Star Trek: The Next Generation, they needed to navigate some licensing issues while spending as little money as possible.
The answer: recycling a piece of music Goldsmith had composed for the previous film.
Add some spoken dialogue from the Shakespearean actor hired to play the series’ new captain…
and the rest is history.
This is the greatest introduction to a TV show since they started making TV shows.
I’m sure there is a second place, but why bother figuring it out?
In 2018, Paramount announced Sir Patrick Stewart would return to television as Jean-Luc Picard.
Immediately, from that point five years ago, Star Trek fans knew that the moment would arrive when one of the most beloved characters in science fiction would get the opportunity for a proper sendoff - an opportunity that has now arrived this week, with the final episode of Star Trek: Picard set to air on Thursday.
The show has received rave reviews this season, equally for its nostalgia as well as its creative storytelling that wisely centers on plot rather than character. Fans around the country will gather, in person at IMAX theaters, to view the final episode together.
Star Trek has a special relationship to the world of conversational AI, in that it was among the first examples of mainstream entertainment to feature a technological environment designed around speech as the primary input and output.
Many current conversational AI stars and veterans were inspired by Star Trek to pursue their own endeavors related to using natural language to interact with computers. Amazon even referred to Star Trek as its “north star” in building Alexa.
Thus, you could easily argue that there is no conversational AI today without Star Trek.
When the credits roll at the end of the final episode for Captain Picard this week, it’s nice to note that just like with conversational AI itself these days, far more people than ever originally anticipated are now watching.
The final agenda for Project Voice 2023: The World of Conversational AI (April 24-26, Chattanooga TN) has now been published here.
An updated list of numerous media and influencers attending the upcoming conference has been made available to sponsors and partners.
This list of 300+ organizations attending the conference, which has drawn attention for the public reunion of the Siri co-founders, along with the signing of the Ethics & Integrity Charter for LLM-Based AI, has also been made available:
A Public Space
Actionable Marketing Guide
Aging and Health Technology Watch
AI Data Innovations
Applied Brain Research
Aug X Labs
Ayden Corporate Development Group
Bloomberg Radio West
Blue Check Skill
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Connected Vehicle Trade Association
Conversation Design Institute
District 90 Louisiana
Duck Tape DevOps
Frost & Sullivan
Future of Privacy Forum
Georgia State University
Harvard Business School
Holon Institute of Technology
Immaculate Conception Basilica
In The Room
Intelligent Health Association
London Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Myrtle Software Ltd
Naris Communications LLC
Nation's Restaurant News
National Retail Concept Partners
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Nissan Motor Corporation
Open Voice Network
Penguin Random House
Predictability at Scale
Print Media Centr
Project Voice Capital Partners
Restaurant Technology Network
The IVR Voice.com
The Metropolitan Group Thread
University of Central Florida
University of Cincinnati
University of South Florida
University of Tennessee
US Department of Energy
Virtual News Center
Volvo Car Corp
Wall Street Journal
WayPoint Healthcare Solutions
Wolters Kluwer Health
Women in Data