on Dec 15, 2006
One of the ads in the sidebar right now is for “Dragon Naturally Speaking”, a program which allows you to “type by talking”. You know: speech recognition and whatnot. The ad boasts “99% accuracy, can your staff do as well?”
Actually, unless they are just learning English the average person is bound to do a lot better than a mere 99%. Words are lost all the time due to background noise or differing pronounciation, be we are nearly always able to auto-correct for this on the fly, usually before the other person even finishes speaking. If we really couldn’t figure out one out of every hundred words, conversation would be maddening. We would be misunderstanding each other, or asking the other person to repeat things more or less constantly. The average Joe can do better than 99% talking on a cell phone in a noisy room.
So yeah, unless you’re the governor of California, your staff probably does a lot better than 99% accuracy.
(Oh, and a slight disclaimer: You need to train the software for a week before you can attain that less-than stellar 99%.)
LATER: I must add: I don’t have a problem with the software itself, my gripe here is that the ad was trying to pit their software against human beings. Computers are unbeatable when it comes to doing calculations, sorting, and storage of data. But when it comes to deciphering language, they can’t hope to keep up with a human. So, the ad was kind of indirectly insulting, which is why I just wasted four paragraphs on it.
Sheesh. I shouldn’t be this grumpy on a Friday.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.