Keep Scatting

Keep is Google’s voice transcription app.  I’ve been experimenting with it on my smart phone.  Very interesting.  It gets many things right, like, The quick red fox jumped over the lazy brown dog, and, She sells seashells by the seashore.  In general, simple sentences and good diction yield acceptable notes.  But going off the beaten path can give unexpected results.  When I recited the classic rhyme, Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you, I got the transcription, Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy to kill a baby too wouldn’t you.  A little scary.
For fun I tried a short scat phrase, along the lines of, bee-bop ba-boop, which the app transcribed as, give a f*** up pop boob (including the asterisks).  A longer scat with different vowels turned into, people in the middle of the police department.  One came back as, Billy badly bubble f*** pop; another as, boo boo boo 5853 felt that.  And one of my favorites was a short babble that converted to, f*** your fishing trip.  The asterisks aren’t here because I’m bashful.  They’re what the app actually provides.  
Hidden in this nonsense I see a pattern.  First, Google wants very much to translate difficult sounds into a certain curse word.  Second, it simultaneously tries very hard to censor that word by substituting asterisks.  That’s a little f***ed up.




July 29, 2013

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