Kurzweil Applied Intelligence was founded in 1982 by inventor Ray Kurzweil with the goal of creating the first speech-to-text word processor. In 1987, the company introduced the first public speech recognition system, which allowed slow speech to be transcribed to a word processor and other applications.
This technology allowed for the creation of Kurzweil VoiceMed (now Kurzweil Medical Reporter), allowing doctors to create electronic medical reports by speaking to their computers.
In 1997, Kurzweil Applied Intelligence was sold to Lernout & Hauspie (L&H). L&H promptly formed an alliance with Microsoft, allowing the software giant to share the speech recognition technology. One of L&H's latest speech-to-text products, Voice Xpress, was used by Kurzweil to author The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence.