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The golden age of dictation

AI has drastically improved voice recognition. It’s a know-how that researchers have lengthy struggled with.

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Illustration by The Atlantic. Supply: Getty.

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Computer systems could have appeared magical to you as soon as, portals to an unpredictable expanse of information and leisure. Then they grew to become ubiquitous, maybe just a little boring, and sometimes horrifying. Synthetic intelligence, although laced with loads of its personal troubles, has managed to rekindle a few of the pleasure that has been absent from digital know-how in recent times—and never simply in its highest-profile functions.

Take dictation, for instance. As my colleague Caroline Mimbs Nyce wrote in a latest article, AI has lately enabled drastic enhancements in voice recognition, advancing a know-how that researchers have traditionally struggled with. “For a very long time, we have been making gradual, incremental progress, after which all of a sudden issues began to get higher a lot sooner,” Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, a professor {of electrical} and laptop engineering on the College of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, instructed her.

Strive activating your cellphone’s dictation characteristic and talking your subsequent message as an alternative of typing it. You may simply decide up a useful new behavior—and also you’d have AI to thank.

— Damon Beres, senior editor

an image of a mouth with text bubbles
Illustration by The Atlantic. Supply: Getty.

You Don’t Must Sort Anymore

By Caroline Mimbs Nyce

As just a little lady, I usually discovered myself in my household’s basement, doing battle with a dragon. I wasn’t gaming or taking part in fake: My dragon was a bit of enterprise voice-dictation software program referred to as Dragon Naturally Talking, launched in 1997 (and bought by my dad, an early adopter).

As a child, I used to be enchanted by the concept of a pc that would sort for you. The premise was easy: Put on a headset, pull up the software program, and converse. Your phrases would fill a doc on-screen with out your arms having to bear the indignity of truly typing. However regardless of how a lot I attempted to enunciate, regardless of how slowly I spoke, this system merely didn’t register my tiny, high-pitched voice. The web page would keep largely clean, often transcribing the improper phrases. Finally, I’d get pissed off, surrender, and go play with one thing else.

A lot has modified within the intervening many years. Voice recognition—the computer-science time period for the power of a machine to precisely transcribe what’s being stated—is enhancing quickly thanks partly to latest advances in AI. Immediately, I’m a voice-texting wizard, usually dictating obnoxiously lengthy paragraphs on my iPhone to family and friends whereas strolling my canine or driving. I discover myself talking into my cellphone’s textual content field on a regular basis now, just because I really feel prefer it. Apple up to date its dictation software program final yr, and it’s nice. So are many different applications. The dream of correct speech-to-text—lengthy held not simply in my dad and mom’ basement however by individuals all around the world—is coming collectively. The dragon has practically been slain.

Learn the complete article.

What to Learn Subsequent


Earlier this week, The Atlantic revealed an article by the author S. I. Rosenbaum exploring implants that permit the human mind to interface with computer systems. AI performs a considerable function, translating neural alerts into instructions that permit a mouse cursor to maneuver, as an example. One other encouraging use of the know-how, maybe—although as Rosenbaum experiences, there are nonetheless main challenges to beat.

— Damon

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