"Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is one of the fastest growing and commercially most promising applications of natural language technology. Speech is the most natural communicative medium for humans in many situations, including applications such as giving dictation; querying database or information-retrieval systems; or generally giving commands to a computer or other device, especially in environments where keyboard input is awkward or impossible (for example, because one's hands are required for other tasks)."
– from Linguistic Knowledge and Empirical Methods in Speech Recognition. By Andreas Stolcke. (1997). AI Magazine 18 (4): 25-32.