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.