Articles about speech recognition

perplexed woman on phone

Fun fact of the day: Voice recognition tech is naturally sexist

Voice recognition systems are sexist: they struggle to deal with female voices compared to male ones. It's a headache that has been lingering for a while in the machine-learning world. The issue was brought back into the spotlight again by Delip Rao, CEO and co-founder of R7 Speech Sciences, a startup using AI to understand …
Katyanna Quach, 14 Mar 2018
Robot maid

Talk down to Siri like it's a mere servant – your safety demands it

In the middle of the night, the 83-year-old woman received a call. A caller identifying himself as a policeman angrily reported that her grandson – identified by name – had landed in jail. He'd hit a policeman while driving and TXTing. The policeman said they needed $4,000 in bail – immediately. The old woman hung up, but the …
Mark Pesce, 12 Feb 2018
Alexa photo via Shutterstock

When you play this song backwards, you can hear Satan. Play it forwards, and it hijacks Siri, Alexa

Computer science boffins affiliated with IBM and universities in China and the United States have devised a way to issue covert commands to voice-based AI software – like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana – by encoding them in popular songs. They refer to these tweaked tunes, which issue mostly …
Thomas Claburn, 30 Jan 2018

Audio tweaked just 0.1% to fool speech recognition engines

The development of AI adversaries continues apace: a paper by Nicholas Carlini and David Wagner of the University of California Berkeley has explained off a technique to trick speech recognition by changing the source waveform by 0.1 per cent. The pair wrote at arXiv that their attack achieved a first: not merely an attack …

Cortana. Whatever happened to world domination?

Analysis Somewhat harshly, Microsoft's Cortana was pronounced dead this week. Torn between wholesaling and retailing Cortana, Microsoft ended up doing a bit of both, and failed badly. It's also torn between what the brand actually means – an Alexa voice assistant, or an IBM Watson-like brand for analytics, covering a multitude of …
Andrew Orlowski, 10 Jan 2018
Johnny Cab

Total recog: British AI makes universal speech breakthrough

Interview SpeechMatics, the company founded by British neural network pioneer Tony Robinson, has made major advances in speech recognition. Speechmatics’ Automatic Linguist can now add a new language to its system automatically – without human intervention or tuning – in about a day, crunching through 46 new languages in just six weeks …
His master's voice

Mozilla releases voice dataset and transcription engine

Mozilla has revealed an open speech dataset and a TensorFlow-based transcription engine. Mozilla floated "Project Common Voice" back in July 2017, when it called for volunteers to either submit samples of their speech or check machine translations of others' utterances. The project has since collected 500 hours of samples (in …

Cognitive Services, Clippy? AI's silent infiltration of Microsoft's Office stack

In just over a year, Microsoft has launched and expanded a set of APIs called Cognitive Services, which handle everything from face and emotion recognition, to a Language Understanding Intelligence Service (yes, LUIS for short) and a Custom Decision Service. At the Cognitive Services homepage you can get your hands on …
Sonia Cuff, 22 Aug 2017
His master's voice

Mozilla hoping to open source voice samples for future AI devs

Mozilla has decided speech recognition should be open source, and has launched a project to achieve just that, Project Common Voice. What the browser builder wants, it says, is an open source data set for voice recognition apps. The open source community, Mozilla's Daniel Kessler writes, is the “next wave of innovators” – but …
Robot talks unto robot photo via Shutterstock

Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again

Profile One of the pioneers of making what's called "machine learning" work in the real world is on the comeback trail. At Cambridge University's Computer Science department in the 1990s, Dr Tony Robinson taught a generation of students who subsequently turned the Fens into the world speech recognition centre. (Microsoft, Amazon and …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jul 2017
Superhero on a mobile phone. pic by shutterstock

Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

Scientists are working on a way of using the internal orientation sensors in smartphones to defend against efforts to trick voice recognition systems. As the use of smartphones, wearables and voice-based assistants is on the rise, so is the risk that criminals will try to use those systems to their advantage by impersonating …
Rebecca Hill, 12 Jun 2017

Amazon touts Echo voice-recog tech to world's gizmo makers

In an effort to cement its position in the voice recognition market, Amazon has opened up its Alexa technology to third parties. The e-retailer is offering its seven-microphone array and voice processing tech to hardware makers who want to include voice activation in their products, but don't want to spend the enormous time …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Apr 2017
Young girl with a cochlear implant. Photo by shutterstock/Elsa Hoffmann

Researcher hopes to teach infants with cochlear implants to speak – with an app

Getting an AI to understand speech is already a tough nut to crack. A group of Australian researchers wants to take on something much harder: teaching once-deaf babies to talk. Why so tough? Think about what happens when you talk to Siri or Cortana or Google on a phone: the speech recognition system has to distinguish your “ …
My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Smash up your kid's Bluetooth-connected Cayla 'surveillance' doll, Germany urges parents

Germany's Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys' Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device. "Items that conceal cameras or microphones and that are capable of transmitting a signal, and therefore can transmit data without detection, compromise people's privacy," said agency president Jochen …
Thomas Claburn, 17 Feb 2017
Microsoft's Custom Speech Service

Eee by gum! Aye up, Microsoft, what's tha y' got? Cloud for accents?

Microsoft has build a cloud service for applications so that software can attempt to understand specialist vocabularies and cope with dialects and accents. Speech recognition works better if the algorithms can pick from a limited range of possible words and phrases, rather than attempting to recognise everything. Microsoft's …
Tim Anderson, 8 Feb 2017

TV anchor says live on-air 'Alexa, order me a dollhouse' – guess what happens next

A San Diego TV station sparked complaints this week – after an on-air report about a girl who ordered a dollhouse via her parents' Amazon Echo caused Echoes in viewers' homes to also attempt to order dollhouses. Telly station CW-6 said the blunder happened during a Thursday morning news package about a Texan six-year-old who …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Jan 2017

AI brains take a step closer to understanding speech just like humans

Machine learning researchers are on a mission to make machines understand speech directly from audio input, like humans do. At the Neural Information Processing Systems conference this week, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) demonstrated a new way to train computers to recognise speech without …
Robot AI Woman

Revamped Cortana finally lands on UK mobe mass market

Microsoft’s ravenous, data hungry ‘personal assistant’ Cortana has arrived on iOS and Android in the UK, and the app has been revamped. Cortana has been available here since July 2014 on Windows Phones, and last year on Windows 10. But “she” finally arrives on devices people actually use. The UI overhaul is to address the …

Create a news alert about speech recognition, or find more stories about speech recognition.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018