Sunday, October 23, 2005
Gee, the marvels of modern technology. What will they think of next. Have to say though, that it reminds me of an occasion some time ago when I was working in the Audio Visual section of a Queensland University back in 1993. One of my jobs was to videotape visiting lecturers. On this occasion a couple of characters had come over from America to give a seminar on "voice recognition" software for computers.
When we stopped for a cuppa tea, I had a conversation with one of them, and he told me that it had taken twelve months and about a million dollars to get the computer to recognise 14 spoken words. The difficulty, of course, is that there are many different pitches and intonations, not to mention accents. At that point the words .. had .. to .. be .. spo .. ken .. slow .. ly, clearly and with the same pitch. Very proud of their achievement, they were.
I sort of looked at him and said 'sheesh, mate, if you give me twelve months and a million dollars - I could teach about fifty kids to recognise a vocabulary of about three thousand words. Read, write and speak them.'
He gave me a sour look and went off to talk with his friends.
I still think that the most powerful computer sits about 12 inches above the collarbone. Cheap, portable, runs on a small amount of carbohydrates and stuff, works when wet - and only needs replacing about every 70-80 years.
PS. Tuesday 26. Needs constant 'up-dating' though. But that can be cheapish if there's a local library.