The amateur dictator

For years, I have wanted to use speech recognition software, but have always held back because the best product – Dragon Dictate – ran only under Windows, and I am a Mac user. But the company has released a version of the program for OS X, and I’ve just installed it. And this blog post is the first I’ve ever done simply by talking to the machine.

The accuracy of Dragon Dictate is scary. The strange thing is that we used to think that successful speech recognition was a problem for Artificial Intelligence. What none of us suspected was that it was a problem that could be solved using statistics and brute-force calculation. In fact, many years ago I knew someone in Cambridge – Frank Fallside – who was one of the pioneers of this approach to speech recognition. He died tragically young, so it’s nice to see how his work eventually came to fruition.