Biographical Information

Robert Andersen

Articles by Robert Andersen

Continuous Speech: Better Over Time

Developers of speech recognition products typically, and for the most part fairly, make the claim that their products get better with use. Speech products recognize words with a higher rate of accuracy as they become more accustomed to a person's speech patterns. In this article, we will attempt to describe the performance of IBM's ViaVoice and Dragon's NaturallySpeaking over the last two months since our previous article. IBM's ViaVoice appeared to be perhaps slightly less accurate than Dragon's NaturallySpeaking, after their initial training sessions. With time, and the training which goes with it, IBM's performance appears to have improved. However, Dragon may still have an edge.

The Verdict is in for Continuous Speech

For someone who has been using and testing speech recognition systems for over five years, the new continuous speech, large vocabulary dictation systems available now are like breaths of fresh air, truly marvelous, the industry's version of the Holy Grail.

Speech’s Price War

In some ways, the cost of current large vocabulary speech recognition systems is artificial. Decades of research and development have made speech recognition programs among the most complex and expensive computer programs ever devised. However, the cost of reproducing software is trivial. The transition from hardware-dependent to software-only products indicates that speech recognition technology has become, in some sense, totally intellectual property, only a “sequence.” But, of course, the genetic code of an entire human being is expressible as “merely a sequence of nucleotides” (...after millions of years of evolution).

Speech's Holy Grail

Through a remarkable technology developed over decades of research, it is now possible to dictate free text to a computer and have it “recognize” one’s speech and “type” it out, without fingers ever touching the keyboard. Sound waves, vibrations of air, are transduced into electrical impulses by microphones.