Microsoft researchers crack voice recognition barrier

A screenshot of the app Cortana for iOS and Android.(Photo: Microsoft) SAN FRANCISCO – As handy as all our voice recognition friends are, conversing with them still feels you’re talking to a foreign relative. Whether its Siri (Apple) or Alexa (Amazon) or Google Assistant or Cortana (Microsoft), each requires the human to speak in slow, articulated phrases to increase the odds of comprehension. But researchers at Microsoft say they’ve reached a milestone that promises a future where machines can transcribe us as well as another person. In a paper published Monday called “Achieving Human Parity in Conversational Speech Recognition,” engineers with Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research announced they’d developed a speech recognition system that makes the same or fewer errors as professional transcriptionists. The team hit a word error rate of 5.9 percent, down…


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