Playing with Dictation

January 15, 2009 at 7:56 AMJoshua Harley

So there I was showing David the new Windows 7 beta when we decided to play with the dictation features of Windows (speech-to-text). Naturally during the tutorial we wouldn't say exactly what was requested we would either leave out syllables or leave out whole words directly. We noticed that the tutorial would actually continue as long as you said about 50% of the words but what we didn't know until the end when it told us was it was using that initial tutorial to start training itself. Even more entertaining was their disclaimer and opt-in feature to scan my documents and emails to pick up on words and phrases that were commonly used on my computer. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, we soon found out it was a very bad idea to let it read all of that.

Here are a few sentences produced by speaking (we don't remember what we originally said unfortunately):

None of the league agreed on a dynamic built-in David built-in booya and financing built-in the event is that you cross the border town of Larry G5 to one Friday in your beta kit that the Olympic club at the very thing the government meddling in the economy that reenactment of the right file a will he do for a reenactment Cameron raveling and the only and I you are still in the lending law violate the no while they by know about one.

And here is a slightly later one:

I think the people will be downloaded it will really actually help them.

And one more:

Dictating is a bathtub edition and that the man down at the event that palin group that led by David name the other man on the red onion home directory and the drug and weapon that the file recently moved and the government the real leaders believe you're a aggressive e-mail at it but dictating is a pain the ass.

You can tell that the dictating engine had scanned my emails and documents by noticing the references to the government, the economy and Sarah Palin (don't worry, it's her Wikipedia article). I must say, it was quite an entertaining experience and I will definitely need to reset and retrain the engine if I'm ever going to use it properly.

Inspired by the YouTube video Microsoft Vista Speech Recognition Tested - Perl Scripting.

Bonus YouTube video: An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

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