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While researching a computer game, I came across the terms “voice controlled” and “voice activated”. What is the difference between them?

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closed as not a real question by Armen Ծիրունյան, Matt Эллен, Robusto, tchrist, MετάEd Dec 18 '12 at 1:14

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The difference between activate and control can be found in reliable online dictionaries. Was there something in particular troubling you? –  Matt Эллен Dec 17 '12 at 14:32
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@MattЭллен The phrases do not follow the semantic trail faithfully. In reality, Voice controlled and voice activated are used very ambiguously. –  Kris Dec 17 '12 at 14:35
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@Kris I strongly disagree. A thing that is voice controlled means that you can control the thing with your voice. A thing that is voice activated (a subset of controlling) is something you can activate with your voice. I haven't encountered an ambiguous use of the phrases. –  Matt Эллен Dec 17 '12 at 14:37
    
@MattЭллен I tried to explain further on, though only briefly, in my answer. –  Kris Dec 17 '12 at 14:42
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In the context of a marketing claim, I can't expect that the difference between the two will be carefully adhered to in making the distinction. In other words, if we are to assume the activation to be a subset of control, marketing may be truthy and somewhat accurate in the categorical representation of the feature being voice controlled, even if not fully voice controlled. –  JustinC Dec 17 '12 at 14:48

3 Answers 3

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One is full control and the latter is about activation only. Whilst you could say that any game action equates to an activation of the action, meaning the two phrases are equivalent, in most cases voice activation implies a more restrained use of voice recognition. If you mention the game titles connected with each phrase, we'd be able to tell you the difference there. Game makers can use these terms to mean various things.

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i suppose..

voice controlled - something that can be controlled by the means of voice projection from start to finish.

voice activated - something that for it to work, it has to be activated using one's voice.

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In reality, Voice controlled and voice activated are used very ambiguously. Almost to the point where they are almost synonymous.

The reason being that in actual devices, the point at which control distinguishes itself from activation is not always distinct. Think of it with respect to most devices.

In the simplest case, START should mean activation and STOP should be control. But you have a myriad functions in between that cannot be delineated so clearly.

On the other end of the spectrum, if and only if every function is achieved by means voice can a device be called truly voice controlled.

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Do you have any concrete examples of devices that are ambiguous? –  Matt Эллен Dec 17 '12 at 14:47
    
@MattЭллен Every device that has intermediate states between START and STOP is liable to ambiguous definition. –  Kris Dec 17 '12 at 14:49
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So no, then? I don't see what ambiguity you are talking about. –  Matt Эллен Dec 17 '12 at 15:22

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