Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Vice revocation

Techno orgy what surfs know Hun

About three months ago, Pat finally got his own cell phone. One of the "features" that it comes with is a voice-recognition program that converts all voice mail into text messages.

It sounds like a good idea at first, but it fails somewhat in the execution. It doesn't do well at transcribing people who speak with accents other than middle-American (e.g., Penzance), people who speak fast (e.g., Zorro), people who use specialized vocabulary (e.g., sailors), or people who call from locations where there is a lot of background noise like wind (e.g., sailors at the lake).

Sometimes the software admits it has problems; when it thinks it might not have the right word, it follows that word with a question mark in parentheses, and sometimes it totally gives up and puts a long dash where the word would normally be. But sometimes it just plain gets the wrong word without admitting it.

The result has been that in some messages, more than half the words are either wrong or missing. One of the most glaring examples is when Penzance calls – the software transcribes "Hi, this is" correctly, and then it goes on to give a first name that resembles his actual name only in that it has one syllable with a percussive consonant at the beginning.

We have, however, received a couple of messages in which the software worked perfectly, not missing a single word – from the billing department of a hospital, seeking payment for services provided to somebody we've never heard of.

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Blogger Gerald said...

Why am I not surprised the the company seeking money gets the message through perfectly intact? I'm glad I don't have to worry about hospital billing any more. $5 flat rate copay on everything for me.

Fri Apr 10, 04:45:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous pL said...

I got software for my phone that converts speech into text messages...but i got it mostly for the entertainment value...

Mon Apr 13, 01:15:00 AM MDT  

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