I still haven't adjusted to voice-activated phones for conversation.
I cannot imagine doing my job without voicemail. Yet I did for years.
I recall the strangeness that people felt “talking to a machine” two decades ago. I t seems a world away. I do know a few older folks who still aren’t comfortable with it, but most people regard talking to a machine as entirely natural now.
As each new voice technology came in, people felt the unnaturalness of it. Tape recording goes back a long way, but it was not in everyday use for voice for most people. It was an event to speak into a microphone for recording purposes. People were nervous and tentative about it, nervously over-anticipating or freezing up operating the simple controls, or signaling each other in panic to move closer to a mike or adjust the volume. Part of this was the poor quality of most machines – tape was used to keep a record. Musicians needed good equipment or they didn’t bother. Thus to record on good equipment was also an event. Speaking into a microphone for radio broadcast takes some getting used to, but I think it's a quicker learning curve for each generation.
Listening to an ESPN phone interview where there was just the slightest delay between the parties, however, sounded very odd. All attempts at banter and jokes fell flat, because the timing and encouragement of laughter and feedback needs to be immediate. It all sounded terribly stilted. In humor, a delay before laughing is not a neutral sign, but a bad one - your audience is telling you you haven't quite got it right. I was reminded of that last night talking with my son Ben. The tiny delays suggested a voice-activated phone, and it threw me off repeatedly. Those who use it consistently have likely adjusted and don't notice, but to me, the delay keeps giving me the automatic visceral reaction "Did I just say something wrong?" It's wearying.
OTOH, his ear doesn't get too warm to continue.
I do wonder if we will eventually run up against some hard-wiring of the brain problem in constantly changing communication. Yet if we do, the technology will quicly go in another direction, I suppose.