Robo-captions are pretty bad — so bad, they’re often funny. It’s a good example of what happens when voice-recognition software is context-challenged. Just the data, ma’am.
Here are a couple of quick examples of the robo-captions I found in about 30 minutes of fun. I could’ve done it much more quickly, but kept getting sucked into the websites’ silly examples. The most fun, however, is to pick a real news show and just read the captions yourself. You can’t miss; they always do.
“It lets you organize time” becomes “it lets you organize crime.”
And President Obama, on a 7-month-old video of a press conference, says, “I love any serious threat to theaters or some sort of terrorist attack against theaters that are screaming…” A few minutes later, he goes all vegan — “My job is to deploy millet,” and “apply the sorghum with pressure.” Is that a veiled reference to GMO crops?
“Unitarian Universalism” became “uterine universalism.”
It makes me wonder — what is the point of the little CC icon in the lower right-hand corner of the online video screen, unless it’s for comic relief? Could it be so someone can check the “we provide captions” box on an FCC compliance form? We shall see; I just filed a complaint with the FCC. But the captioning rules have recently been revised, so I’m not looking forward to anything definitive. Or helpful, frankly. But funny? Yes.
How to Wreck a Nice Beach
Finally, a thank-you to Lindsay Schachinger for the mondegreen “How to Wreck a Nice Beach” for “How to Recognize Speech.” She attributes it to a computer science paper on speech recognition in the 1980’s.
We’ve come a long way. Or have we?