It was one thing when some of Amazon’s voice-enabled Alexa devices picked up children’s voices and then ordered goods online. It was another thing altogether when families watching television coverage of that story found that their Amazon devices ordered those same products because they heard the reference on the news report. Ah, the unintended consequences of powerful voice recognition and artificial intelligence!
This anecdote highlights the power of speech recognition technology, 60 years after Bell Labs’ Audrey device and 50 years after IBM showed off its Shoebox machine.
Speech recognition has vastly improved over the decades, thanks to electronics innovation and artificial intelligence advances. Yet, even amazing applications like voice-activated assistants are, in some ways, still in their adolescence, partly because of the complexity of human language and speech.
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