But the presence of the keyboard and the text on the screen still remind us that the computer is a writing technology—that the electronic signs in the computer are separate from our thoughts. Therefore artificial intelligence programmers are pursuing the obvious solution of eliminating the keyboard in favor of a computer that can master spoken language. A computer that understands the human voice would take advantaged of the prejudice that speaking is not a form of semiotic communication at all. Spoken language seems to have immediate access to the mind, and therefore a hearing and speaking computer would seem to collapse the distance between human and machine.
You cannot do anything with a computer except to write. The moment you touch a key on the keyboard, you have accepted this paradigm, whether you are consulting a database, using a word processor, or putting together your own program.
The irony is, from the machine has come one gain not yet sufficiently observed or used, but which leads directly on toward projective verse and its consequences. It is the advantage of the typewriter that, due to its rigidity and its space precisions, it can, for a poet, indicate exactly the breath, the pauses, the suspensions even of syllables, the juxtapositions even of parts of phrases, which he intends. For the first time the poet has the stave and the bar a musician has had. For the first time he can, without the convention of rime and meter, record the listening he has done to his own speech and by that one act indicate how he would want any reader, silently or otherwise, to voice his work.