Microsoft claims its speech transcription AI is now better than human professionals

Transcribing a conversation between two humans is one of those tasks that’s deceptively difficult for machines to tackle. Even if the audio file is high quality and doesn’t have any background noise, the algorithm needs to contend with different voices, interruptions, hesitations, corrections, and a litany of common conversational nuances. A new paper from Microsoft Research claims to slightly beat human-level transcription of conversation, even when the human transcript is double-checked by a second human for accuracy. The team doesn’t attribute this achievement to any breakthrough in algorithm or data, but the careful tuning of existing AI architectures. To test how their algorithm stacked up against humans, first researchers had to get a baseline. Microsoft hired a third-party service to tackle a piece of audio for which they had a…


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