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Microsoft’s Speech Recognition Software Reaches Human-Level Accuracy

Michael Williams, Digital Media Intern, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Microsoft (a Consumer Technology Association [CTA] member) has reached a major milestone in speech recognition. Engineers reported a word error rate of 5.9 percent, equal to that of human transcription. 

This marks the lowest word error rate for a machine ever recorded against industry standards. For the first time, a computer can recognize words spoken in a conversation as well as a human would.

“The next frontier is to move from recognition to understanding,” said Geoffrey Zweig, a researcher with the Speech & Dialog research group at Microsoft.

This milestone has broad implications for Microsoft’s line of consumer and business products, including the Xbox, speech-to-text software and digital assistants like Cortana.

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