close this bookVolume 7: No. 47
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Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. will soon introduce a voice-controlled interface for Microsoft Word, using technology from Kurzweil Applied Intelligence. The product will be marketed first to pathologists, then for legal applications and police reporting. [IW Electric, 17Jul97. EduP.] (Pathologists need hands-free dictation, but why sentence selection, underlining, font choice, and color control?)

Lernout & Hauspie and Creative Technology Ltd. are investing $4.5M (plus their text-to-speech and voice recognition technologies) in Associative Computing, Inc. (San Jose), an AI developer. ACI will work on game characters with human-like interfaces and behavior -- including real learning ability -- plus intelligent computer agents able to understand voice commands and speak in response. [PRNewswire, 17Jul97. Lily Laws.]

Investors' magazine Red Herring has a review of voice/speech recognition companies: ALTech, Articulate Systems, Dragon Systems, IBM, Lernout & Hauspie, Northern Telecom, Naunce, Philips Dictation Systems, PureSpeech, and Voice Control Systems. [Aug97, p. 40. NewtNews, 15Jul97.]

InformationWeek also has a report, at . Charles Schwab & Co. is using a telephone voice recognition system from Nuance so that customers can access stock prices. American Express Travel expects to cut transaction costs 50% by letting customers check and book flights to 250 destinations. Alamo will allow customers to confirm or cancel car reservations using IBM's technology. UPS will let customers track packages, and Wal-Mart Stores wants to help employees locate and stock inventory. [Business Wire, 18Jul97. Lily Laws.]

Communication Control Systems (London) is selling a phone for 2,700 British Pounds (about $4,500) that is claimed to identify spoken lies by subtle voice tremors. [Sunday Times, 13Jul97. Sam Saariste , comp.speech, 14Jul97. Bill Park.] (Bill remembers a Hogarth Voice Stress Analyzer marketed about a decade ago, denounced by the American Polygraph Association. Now that voice mail and Internet phones are becoming common, a company might make a living from off-line analysis of recorded speech. [Even a "perceived sincerity score," independent of truth, could be very valuable to advertisers, political campaign managers, and actors or movie producers.] Or maybe PC software is the natural market for a voice analysis product, esp. for real-time or delayed analysis of phone conversations and personal interviews. Laptop computers and PDAs could do the same in the field -- at pick-up bars, for instance. Someday we'll add video capture and body language analysis. Bill notes that there's bound to be counter-weaponry, such as voice filters that remove insincerity cues.)

It's fun to take dictation software to poetry readings. Works of the "beat generation" produce particularly interesting transcriptions. You can find source text via , from Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, etc. [Doug Fraser , 07Jul97.]