Speech-based applications are now omnipresent. You can now talk to your phones, laptops, gaming consoles, watches, and even earbuds. You can easily set up automation so that you can talk to your home. Access to speech recognition is not limited only to the technology-proficient. Anyone can visit the mobile app store and download one for free.
So, how do popular voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Home, and Cortana work? How do they understand what you’re saying, so accurately? The answer lies in the field of speech recognition. Speech recognition is the ability of a machine to understand what a person is saying. How a machine achieves this is through a process known as machine learning, where a computer is fed raw data, labels to identify the data and some additional information associated with that data. For example, the raw data can be voice samples from customer service calls, labels could be the type of service requested, and additional data relevant to the call could be time of day, length of call, phrases spoken during the call, customer satisfaction rating after the call (if available), etc. Using these inputs, a computer can come up with a model that might help a business route incoming customer calls to the appropriate specialist and thus improve customer service while reducing costs.
Many businesses implement speech recognition in their automated calls, so instead of using the phone keypad to select options, you can now talk into the phone as you normally would. Speech recognition is a hands-free technology, which makes it especially useful for people, who like to multitask. Transcription services also use speech recognition, which makes it easier for people to make documents or for doctors to transcribe their notes. Overall, speech recognition is an amazing technology that makes life easier by providing many use cases across different fields.
With all the progress in the area of speech recognition, there is still room for improvement. As previously mentioned voice assistants today use speech recognition to process the user’s requests and attempt to provide relevant answers. However the responses are not always accurate or helpful. Try asking complex questions to your voice assistant. You might be in for a laugh!