Monday, July 31, 2006

Software demos gone bad

Last week, Microsoft's Vista product manager Shanen Boettcher gave a demonstration of how easy to use, and powerful, Vista's speech recognition technology will be. Boettcher decided to dictate a simple letter to mom.

The result, as Reuters explains, was embarrassing.

Instead of the simple greeting "Dear Mom", Microsoft's software came up with "Dear Aunt, let’s set so double the killer delete select all." Attempts to fix the error only made it worse.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer attempted to blame the failure on "a little bit of echo" in the room. But a later demonstration during the same meeting showed the software able to recognise fixed menu commands perfectly well. Perhaps the echo had gone away by then?

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