Microsoft hits another milestone in speech-recognition software accuracy

microsfot speech recognition cortanaface
If you’re fed up with chatbots mishearing you, Microsoft is making machine ears a little more attentive. Researchers from the tech giant have achieved an impressively low error rate for speech-recognition software — just 6.3 percent, according to a paper published last week. The company hopes this milestone will help refine and personalize its AI assistant, Cortana, and features like Skype Translator.

The newest error rate of Microsoft’s conversational speech-recognition system is regarded as the lowest in the industry, according to Xuedong Huang, Microsoft’s chief speech scientist. IBM meanwhile recently announced an error rate of 6.6 percent, bettering its 6.9 percent error rate from April and the 8 percent milestone that the company achieved last year. Two decades ago, the lowest error rate of a published system was more than 43 percent, Microsoft notes in a blog post.

In artificial intelligence development, researchers often model machines of off humans by equipping the systems with the abilities to speak, see, and hear. Although Microsoft’s achievement is just 0.3 percent below IBM’s, incremental advancements like these bring machines closer to human-like capabilities. In speech recognition, the human error rate is around 4 percent, according to IBM.

“This new milestone benefited from a wide range of new technologies developed by the AI community from many different organizations over the past 20 years,” Microsoft’s Huang said.

A few of these technologies include biologically inspired systems called neural networks, a training technique known as deep learning, and the adoption of graphic processing units (GPUs) to process algorithms. Over the past two years, neural networks and deep learning have enabled AI researchers to develop and train systems in advanced speech recognition, image recognition, and natural language processing. Just last year, Microsoft created image-recognition software that outperformed humans.

Although initially designed for computer graphics, GPUs are now regularly used to process sophisticated algorithms. Cortana can process up to 10 times more data using GPUs than previous methods, according to Microsoft.

With steady advances like these, repeating your question to a chatbot may be a thing of the past.

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

AMD Ryzen CPU prices get slashed ahead of Ryzen 3000 release

AMD's Ryzen CPUs have had their prices slashed as we edge towards the release of their third generation. Whether you're a gamer or someone who needs multi-threaded performance, there's a deal for everyone with some heavy discounts to take…

The number pad on HP’s Chromebook 15 makes spreadsheet work a breeze

HP's Chromebook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch display, a metal keyboard deck with full-size keys, and a dedicated number pad, making it the second Chromebook model, following Acer's Chromebook 715, to be suited for spreadsheet work.

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.