We all knew it anyway, but following claims earlier this week by the BBC ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8163511.stm ) Spinvox has come slightly more clean about the nature of their "D2 brain" for speech-to-text conversion.
“Having experimented with purely automatic speech conversion, SpinVox decided early on in its development that because its voice to text service converts real-life, dynamic and fast-evolving language and messages that we use and exchange every day (known in the industry as ‘free form speech’), it was essential that the system had the capability to evolve at the same rate, converting the latest words, phrases, brand names and colloquialisms to ensure a high level of accuracy. This is why it describes the system as ‘live-learning’,” the company said.
Live-learning combines SpinVox’s “rapidly evolving state-of-the art technology with human quality control and training,” to convert its messages. This seems to be an admission that humans are used in the message conversion process, and is nothing new from SpinVox, but it is still not a clarification on the extent to which humans are used. Although the company does admit that it works with five call centres for quality control purposes.
Of course, it's convenient for the PR machine to describe transcription by humans as "quality control" but that's rather like saying your car doesn't need servicing, but "quality control inspections" every few months. Different words, same meaning?