Monday, May 31, 2010

Let's do "lunch"

Coworkers, in phone calls, always sound like they're plotting bank robberies.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Keep holding

Your call is important to us.
That is why, although we are not now answering,
we will, as soon as possible, answer,
provided you keep holding.
If you do not keep holding,
we assue you
we will not answer

—from Philip Dacey's "Recorded Message" (in The Deathbed Playboy)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Brown Corpus

Speech recognizers make educated guesses at what is being said. They play the odds. For example, the phrase “serve as the inspiration,” is ten times more likely than “serve as the installation,” which sounds similar. Such statistical models become more precise given more data. Helpfully, the digital word supply leapt from essentially zero to about a million words in the 1980s when a body of literary text called the Brown Corpus became available. Millions turned to billions as the Internet grew in the 1990s. Inevitably, Google published a trillion-word corpus in 2006. Speech recognition accuracy, borne aloft by exponential trends in text and transistors, rose skyward. But it couldn’t reach human heights. —Robert Fortner, "Rest in Peas: The Unrecognized Death of Speech Recognition"

(Via Jenny D)