Today is President’s Day, which means for many of us a day off from working in honor of the first President of the United States, George Washington. Titled Washington’s Birthday, a federal holiday honoring George Washington was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
US Presidents have always been fascinating subjects, their lives scrutinized both during and following their presidencies. Some of the most interesting facts we found about our President’s included:
- Ulysses S. Grant was arrested for speeding while driving a horse and buggy in Washington, DC. He had to pay a fine of $20.00 and walk back to the White House.
- Lincoln Logs are named after Abraham Lincoln and the log cabin where he was born. John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect Francis Lloyd Wright, invented them.
- “Teddy Bears” were so named when Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) refused to shoot a small bear cub one day. The incident was reported in the news, which inspired a toy manufacture to come out with the cute stuffed animals.
- The term “O.K.” derives from President Martin Van Buren (1782-1862) who was known as “Old Kinderhook” because he was raised in Kinderhook, New York. “O.K.” clubs were created to support Van Buren’s campaigns
But one of the things we wondered was, which President would be most likely (or should) use speech technology if it were available in their time? Here are our three picks for who would or should have used it, based on their speech writing capabilities, their penchant for speaking and love of the spoken word.
Abraham Lincoln: Few, if any, Presidents have seen more fame nearly 150 years after his death. Lincoln has been the subject of a number of recent books and numerous movies dedicated to his struggles during the Civil War, his assassination by John Wilkes-Booth and his alleged work as a vampire hunter. However, “honest Abe” is considered to be one of the best orators in the history of the Presidency, both when scripted and not. Given his love of the written word, there’s no question that would have found value in speech recognition technology, being able to easily dictate “off the top of his head” and use his time more effectively.
John F. Kennedy: Kennedy may have spoken some of the most memorable quotes in the history of the Oval Office, and again was known for his ability to communicate in a way no one had seen prior with the American people. Due to the sheer volume of speeches that he had to give, even back in the 1960′s, a dictation software would have undoubtedly helped the 35th President be more efficient.
Barack Obama: Everyone remembers President Obama not giving up his Blackberry easily. He certainly is a man that embraces technology and for all we know, could be using Dragon right now- either on his phone, office or with his TV. The truth is, we’ll likely never find out. But, if there was one president who would (and should) embrace the power of speech technology, it’s certainly this one. Given the amount of emails, memos, speeches and correspondence he has to deliver on a daily basis, he should be looking at anything that helps him deliver faster.
Which President do you think would or could use speech technology most effectively, and why?
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