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"The best fuzzy rules, the best knowledge, deal with the turning points of the system. If a race-car driver teaches you how to drive, you don't need him to show you how to drive on the straightaway. It's how he handles the curves that matters."
- Bart Kosko

Electrosecretary  
  An automatic transcription device.  

There is no room on the moon for people who do jobs that can be handled by expert machinery.

When he had finished dictating, he paused to marshal his ideas, could think of nothing further...

He pressed the transcription key. Within twenty seconds all twelve pages of his report, impeccably typed and punctuated, had emerged from the office telefax. He scanned it rapidly, in case the electrosecretary had made mistakes. She did this occasionally (all electrosecs were "she"), especially during rush periods when she might be taking dictation from a dozen sources at once.

From A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke.
Published by Harcourt, Brace and World in 1961
Additional resources -

Clarke also correctly realizes the limits of even futuristic voice-recognition technology:

...no wholly sane machine could cope with all the eccentricities of a language like English, and every wise executive checked his final draft before he sent it out. Many were the hilarious disasters that had overtaken those who had left it all to electronics.

Clarke is not the first with the idea of an automated transcription system. For example, Isaac Asimov used the idea of a transcriber in his 1953 book Second Foundation, and George Orwell referred to speakwrites in his 1948 novel 1984.

As far as I know, the first science fiction writer to suggest that a machine could transcribe the spoken word into words typed onto a page was David H. Keller; see the entry for vibrowriter from his poignant 1934 short story The Lost Language.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Fall of Moondust
  More Ideas and Technology by Arthur C. Clarke
  Tech news articles related to A Fall of Moondust
  Tech news articles related to works by Arthur C. Clarke

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