(Part 1 of a continuing series about technology that needs to be invented)
- Premise: A website that turns any text into a video presentation, instantly, for free.
- Usefulness: Makes everyday life easier
- Novelty: Why didn’t I think of this before?
- Chances of happening: almost inevitable
More and more often I find myself reading through a particularly lengthy news article or book, (especially class textbook) only to wonder if there was a better way to absorb the information in front of me. I see pages and pages of pedantic paragraphs to slog through. But why must it come to this? In all honesty it’s arguable that as a species humans weren't evolutionarily built for writing and reading. Used alone, are these two facets of communication really the most efficient way possible to disseminate information? What if instead of glancing over text, there was a way to seamlessly and instantly incorporate both audio and visual elements into what you want to read?
Imagine it: a webpage with an empty text box, you simply copy and paste your desired text, press go, and voila! Instantly the site begins to scan the text for nouns and populates the screen with images from a search engine. The program is smart too, taking multiple nouns into context to show you only the relevant pictures of what the text is talking about. Importantly, it displays the photos in a visually appealing, customizable, and professional way. It also takes all the words and speaks them aloud in a natural-sounding computer generated voice, modifiable to whatever pleasant tone suits your ears. It displays the text in a simple and distilled format, one sentence at a time, like captions at the bottom of a movie.
You can toggle to have the text read-off at any speed you like, or you can flip backwards and forwards one sentence at a time on your command. You double click on a word at any time to get an instant definition. You can toggle to how many photos you want to see at a time and with what transitions they appear in. You can even hook up the website with “speech-to-text” software so that while giving a presentation, whatever you say will be instantly populated with relevant pictures behind you. It should also be free. It should also incorporate instant translation at least with the captions but possibly also the spoken level.
There are many other “text-to-speech” services out there, but this would be the grand-daddy of them all. In summary it would show you not only the written text, but it would read it aloud to you at any speed and in any tone you wish, in any language you wish, whilst showing relevant images to help solidify the concepts at hand. For now it’s just an idea, but doable with today’s current tech? Oh yes.