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Voice-Recognition Software Somewhat Sexist, Only Listens to Women

Joan

Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Stanford have discovered that voice-recognition technology doesn’t work as well on men as it does on women. The report, which recorded phone conversations in an attempt to understand why those infuriating automated booking lines don’t work quite the way they should, discovered that it’s all in the pitch. And, um, the weird linguistic, err, tics that apparently afflict, umm men more than the, err, fairer sex, have got a lot to do with it.

As have (…) pauses. I can’t decide whether this news is good for women, meaning that we are–hah!–better than the opposite sex, or whether it just reinforces the stereotype that men are in greater need of a secretary* than ever.

The findings are very reminiscent of the problems encountered with Google Voice in territories other than the United States. For example, Australian users of the iPhone found that the word “Good day” got them searches relating to PA. Google has fixed this–its voice recognition programs for Android now come with separate versions for American, British, Indian and Australian accents. Google’s ambitious plans to create a translator phone will, no doubt, overcome this problem.

*My tongue is firmly in my cheek here.

[Via BBC News and News.com.au. Image Carin Baer, AMCtv.com]

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