Apart, from the most onomatopoeic of sounds, spoken words perform the equivalent function as the written text and whereas speech between humans has a high fidelity of emotional intention bandwidth, its duration is limited to working memory plus long term memory for words which made an immediate impact to be stored in long term memory. Spoken commands and spoken replies from AI will become an ever more important aspect of how we interact with our information environment (such as via Siri, Cortana and Bixby) but that also does not detract from the power of visual symbolic thinking.
‘Photo-Realistic’ AR & VR
Even if the problem at hand does relate to a physical space the notation will unlikely be ‘photo-realistic’, it will be a symbolic ‘map’ to some degree. Photo-realistic imagery, both synthetic and recorded, on screens and in headsets, will continue to play an important role in human cognition and will provide new opportunities for rich interaction but that does not detract from the power of visual symbolic thinking.
Direct Brain Connection ‘DBC’
Whether the user employs speech interfaces or interacts with the information regarding the problem on a large computer screen, small smartphone screen, in VR or AR, there will need to be some representation of the symbols.
Even a DBC is just an interface, it will need to interface with something. This is why the issues surrounding visual symbols thinking are deeply human and deeply intertwined with multiple future interface technologies – just because Doug Engelbart’s imagination allowed him to produce useful systems in the 60s does not mean the scope for innovation is in any way exhausted.