Asimov’s Fourth Law of Robotics is “No Swearing”.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

While Google has had issues with their text-to-speech tools, as previously discussed, their search app on the iPhone is quite good. It’s earned a spot on my iPhone’s home screen, thanks to its vastly superior voice recognition compared to iOS’s built-in Siri. In addition to being both faster and more accurate, the Google Search app shows a continuous running log of what its heard, unlike Siri’s somewhat infamous blinking dots-which-may-timeout-and-return-nothing-at-all. It’s a much better experience, and I only wish I could use it in all my phone’s apps.

While singing the praises of the Google Search app at a recent dinner, I was asked how it fared in the infamous gazpacho test. As you might guess, it too failed. Perhaps due to the noise of the restaurant, or maybe just because robots don’t understand cold tomato soup. Much like Siri before it, Google Voice Search heard “Remind me to put the gazpacho on ice in an hour” as “Remind me to put the spot show on ice in an hour”.

However, in the end, Google Voice Search still came out on top. It wasn’t more accurate, but it was at least more human. You see, I think it sensed it was being tested. When I attempted to get it to recognize the single word “gazpacho”, in the name of all that is holy I swear it came back with this:

Google's interpretation of Gazpacho came out as 'Get the f*** out'.
Blunt. I like that.


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