Researchers at Microsoft claim they have made a major breakthrough in speech recognition by creating a technology that recognizes the words in a conversation as well as a person does.
The researchers said that speech recognition system makes the same or fewer errors than professional transcriptionists. They have reported a word error rate (WER) of 5.9 percent, down from the 6.3 percent WER the reported just last month. The 5.9 percent error rate is about equal to that of people who were asked to transcribe the same conversation, and it’s the lowest ever recorded against the industry standard Switchboard speech recognition task.
Microsoft plans to use the technology in Cortana, its personal voice assistant for Windows and the Xbox One, as well as speech-to-text transcription software. The company claims this is the first time, a computer can recognise the words in a conversation as well as a person would.
Microsoft’s chief speech scientist Xuedong Huang in a statement said,
We’ve reached human parity. This is an historic achievement.