Doctors work long hours, and a disturbingly large part of that is documenting patient visits -- one study indicates that they spend 6 hours of an 11-hour day making sure their records are up to snuff. But how do you streamline that work without hiring an army of note takers? Google Brain and Stanford think voice recognition is the answer. They recently partnered on a study that used automatic speech recognition (similar to what you'd find in Google Assistant or Google Translate) to transcribe both doctors and patients during a session.
Twilio is making it easier for developers to build applications that react to what people say during phone calls with a new feature announced Wednesday. The company's Automated Speech Recognition beta will take a caller's speech and turn it into text. Twilio's technology hands the text off to developers so their systems can respond to what people say, rather than requiring customers to navigate menus using phone keypads. It's a move by the company to expand the value of its voice tools for developers by adding a layer of machine intelligence over existing support for sending phone calls and texts using code. Automated Speech Recognition uses Google's Cloud Speech API to handle 89 different languages and dialects, including Spanish, French, and Mandarin.
Amazon is reportedly working on a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that would allow for individual voice recognition, according to a report from Time. In other words, your Echo would theoretically be able to tell voices apart and figure out who is actually talking to it. According to Time, the feature is internally known as "Voice ID" and has been in development since summer 2015. The report claims that Voice ID would allow certain commands to be locked to a specific voice -- for example, only allowing the account holder to purchase things off Amazon (something that's certainly been an issue in the past). Alexa actually already supports multiple user profiles and PIN verification for purchases, but automating the process through voice recognition would certainly make it easier to take advantage of those features.
HSBC is launching voice recognition and touch security services in the UK in a big leap towards the introduction of biometric banking. The bank says its phone and mobile banking customers will no longer have to remember a password or memorable places and dates to access accounts. Barclays has already introduced voice recognition software, but it is only available to certain clients. RBS and NatWest have offered finger print technology for the last year. The move comes weeks ahead of the launch of Atom Bank, which will allow its customers to log on via a face recognition system.
Today's speech recognition technologies are largely tied up in a few products: think Amazon's Alexa and Google's own assistant. These major voice assistants are driven by commercial interests and only serve the majority languages, mainly English. "Most speech databases are trained with an overrepresentation of certain demographics which results in a bias towards male and white and middle class," Davis added. "Accents and dialects that tend to be under-represented in training datasets.