Artificial intelligence (AI) and computers that are able to understand and respond to human speech, something that had long been consider the realm of science fiction, has become commonplace as each successive generation of smartphone and mobile device provides users with access to more sophisticated features and services. Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Search allow consumers to make use of this technology everyday and new breakthroughs in the field mean that voice recognition is going to be more widely used then ever before. Technologies such as “deep learning” and computer algorithms designed to mimic the functions of the human brain have the potential to create more adaptive speech recognition that may soon be able to understand and follow spoken instructions even better than humans do.
What is Speech Recognition?
Speech recognition utilize software in order to translate phonemes, the sounds that comprise human speech, into words. Speech recognition software has grown more and more powerful thanks to more sophisticated computers and the growing size of language databases that the software is able to draw upon. These tools have allowed for software that is able to utilize statistical methods in order to analyze speech sounds with greater accuracy. These methods have largely solved problems such as speaker-dependent recognition so that services like Siri and Voice Search are at least able to understand what is being said. The next logical step entails the creation of software which is able to benefit from true language understanding- a far more difficult challenge than simple recognition and translation.
Neural Networks and Deep Learning
Deep learning, sometimes known as deep machine learning or hierarchical learning, is a branch of machine learning that uses a very sophisticated set of algorithms in order to better model high-level abstractions. These models could function in much the same way that neurons do, and may have the potential to eventually assemble a basic understanding of the human speech. New algorithms based on this model of machine learning have been used to improve voice recognition accuracy substantially. While creating machines and software that is able to learn in the same way humans do may still be a very long way off, new software and speech recognition services able to provide greater accuracy and versatility is being made available to consumers all the time.
The Current State of Speech Recognition
More sophisticated speech recognition programs and services that are powered by the latest algorithms are hitting the mainstream, allowing for smarter computers and mobile devices that are able to provide a greater degree of accuracy and functionality than ever before. Leading services like Google’s Android voice recognition and Microsoft’s Skype Translate, which can convert spoken words into other languages in real time, are able to offer users access to a wider range of options and solutions. Noticeably absent is Apple’s Siri software which is overdue for an update, but users should not have to wait long for a newer and more powerful version of the digital assistant to be made available.
The Future of Speech Recognition and AI
While algorithms able to mimic some of the functions and learning methods of the human brain have allowed speech recognition technology to grow in leaps and bounds in recent years, computers that are actually able to truly learn or understand human language, rather than just recognize it, may still be a long way off. Today’s consumers can look forward to ever more accurate speech recognition services as well as a growing number of devices and applications that can be accessed and utilized with words alone.