"Audrey" took up a whole room and could only identify the numbers 1-9, but did so with 90% accuracy.
Debuted at the World's Fair in 1962, IBM's Shoebox could recognize 16 different words.
The Department of Defense, in the early 1970s, recognized the value of speech recognition and invested 5 years into DARPA’s Speech Understanding Research program.
In 1978, Speak & Spell was introduced, a children's toy designed to help them spell out words.
All of this paved the way for common devices such as Siri (2011) and Alexa (2014).