On Human Misrecognitions…
September 24, 2008
My very first blog was called “Weapons for Christmas:…I had misunderstood my daughter when she said she wanted “Webkins for Christmas”. I’m always intrigued by errors in human speech recognition. I figure if we can’t do it right with all our sensory and extra sensory powers, then how in the world can a computer ever get it right? Or better yet, how can we apply the sensory tools in people to make our machines better.
One of Sensory’s Bluetooth engineers is a native Chinese speaker. Sometimes I have a difficult time understanding his accent, but he says that our BlueGenie Voice Interface on the headsets he works on always works for him. I wonder is that because Sensory’s technology is so good, or because he is well trained on how to talk by our technology. I suspect it’s a combination of both.
A couple of months ago I was in New York. I had a meeting in a building with a security gate entrance. When I signed in at the counter I was given a barcode pass. Upon exiting, I slid the pass in the security gate, but the gate didn’t open. I tried again and it still didn’t open. The security guard gave me a mean look and said something to me. He was a local guy with a New York accent. I had no idea what he said. I tried swiping my card again…gate still didn’t upon. Guard looked mad and grumbled the same thing again, sounded like “Japushida”. I had no idea what he meant, then he made a pushing motion with his hands…I wasn’t supposed to wait for it to open automatically, I was supposed to “just push it in” (I guess?). The body language clued me in!
I was on the phone yesterday and I heard the person on the other end tell me “My female is slowing down my system”…I quickly corrected that in mind to be “my email is slowing down my system, but the correction didn’t occur until I heard the word “system”…then the context made it all come together. I do remember a split second thinking “why is he talking about ‘his female'”…I didn’t know what he meant and it seemed so politically incorrect. Context certainly helps!