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SpinVox "Recognition" Is Often Expensive Human Transcription

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the comes-with-free-offsite-backups dept.

Privacy 226

An anonymous reader writes "SpinVox offers to convert voice messages to text using a system called D2 or 'the Brain.' According to BBC News, said 'Brain' is often of the old-fashioned kind: SpinVox is sending private voice messages to South Africa, the Philippines, and maybe Egypt to be typed by people in a call centre, despite being registered as keeping all private data inside Europe and claiming that the text is somehow anonymised. Insiders say they transcribed 'love messages, secret messages' and everything else from beginning to end, and the company is being bled dry by the cost: SpinVox has been locked out of one of their data centers over a payment dispute. SpinVox refuses to comment further on details — but according to their web page, they're 'enabling the Speech 3.0, Voice 3.0, and Business 3.0 markets,' whatever that means."

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226 comments

O(human) (5, Funny)

NovaX81 (1136085) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801453)

Best algorithm, ever.

Re:O(human) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801663)

I think Vista's file copy algorithm runs in O(human): scribe-like in its patience...

But it's not crazy (1, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801465)

It may be they lied about keeping user supplied data in house, and they may have implied that they used advanced technological means to do the transcription, but if their service does what it says I can't blame them for using human labour to do the transcription. Human brains remain the only high performance computer manufactured with unskilled labour.

Re:But it's not crazy (3, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801557)

What?

No.

Their service says that they keep user supplied data in house. They do not.
Their service says that they use advanced technological means to do the transcription. They do not.

How on earth do you take that to mean 'their service does what it says'?

You are wrong.

Re:But it's not crazy (5, Informative)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801579)

But it also knows what it doesn't know and is able to call on human experts for assistance.

http://www.spinvox.com/how_it_works.html [spinvox.com]

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801679)

Someone mod parent up. The service tells the customers that humans could look at it and I am pretty sure that right there means it is ethical (to all those below screaming about ethics).

Re:But it's not crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801739)

It also purposely words it to sound like they are doing it with a program.
"ver the past four years D2 has been chomping through our words, learning thousands of new words every week"

Re:But it's not crazy (2, Funny)

plnix0 (807376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803057)

They're not native English-speakers. They are learning thousands of new words every week.

Re:But it's not crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802963)

I belivee those are Rumsfeld's Known Unknowns

Re:But it's not crazy (2, Informative)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801581)

I think you misunderstood my post. Yes they lied; but I cannot blame them for using human brains as the speech-to-tech method as it's still probably the best way to do it.

Regardless of their lying about it, the actual 'method' itself is technically sound.

Re:But it's not crazy (2, Interesting)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802535)

And now you're saying that people who barely speak or understand English, let alone the subtlties of the language, being paid to transcribe English, is 'technically sound' and 'the best way to do it'? ...

Frankly, I'm not sure anymore if you're serious, or just being sarcastic.

Next you'll probably tell me "Oh, see that motherboard made of flammable wood? Regardless of it's flammability, it's the best flame-proof way to make a motherboard."

Re:But it's not crazy (3, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802731)

Sadly, it is. Many schools, even in third world and fourth world nations, teach English as their second language for people to participate in business with other groups, even other cultures within their same nations. English _is_ the trade language for this era. And compared to the absolute nonsensical debris most speech algorithms generate in poor acoustic environments, human brains designed by evolution and by education to tease speech out of background environments remain the best speech recognition tool.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802833)

Well said. I was hesitant to keep feeding the troll, but your explanation has hit the nail on the head.

It's weird watching the moderating of my original post fluctuate - it went form +5 insightful to +1 overated-flamebait in the space of half an hour. I can't for the life of me figure that one out.

I think I'll just stick to typing dictated notes...

Re:But it's not crazy (1, Troll)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803157)

Calling him a troll just because he shoots your argument full of holes is plain stupid.

And moderation goes up and down on Slashdot. Maybe the later moderators saw him destroy your argument.

Re:But it's not crazy (4, Informative)

Weedhopper (168515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802799)

And now you're saying that people who barely speak or understand English, let alone the subtlties of the language, being paid to transcribe English, is 'technically sound' and 'the best way to do it'? ...

I think it's more likely that these people speak better, more grammatically correct English than the average Brit or American.

I find it likely that the majority of these people who worked in these centers are young, recent college/university graduates who are doing this because they couldn't find another well paying job. This isn't a bunch of Angolans or Indonesians. We're talking about South Africans and Filipinos. The well educated South African and Filipino speaks, reads and writes excellent English.

For that matter, the same is probably true of Egyptians. Though I can't say that with any certainty because I don't know too many Egyptians.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802941)

Nobody has a funny accent when they type. Other than the accent and occasional odd phrasing (which would never come out in a transcription service - english to english is pretty frickin easy), most of these people speak excellent English, particularly since it is a second language for all of them.

Hell, my last college english class was taught by an Indian immigrant. She had a heavy accent, but her English was very precise and correct. The only annoying thing was she liked the word "rubric", and rolled her r's heavilly.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802095)

It's the difference between "what" and "how". It does WHAT it says (transcribes voice mail to text), but not HOW they say (employees instead of algorithms, cheap countries instead of home).

It's quite silly actually. I personally don't care much about the "how" (as long as my "data" is indeed anonymized), so I don't understand why they'd lie about it.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

plnix0 (807376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803099)

If your message includes your name, or the name of someone else you know, then by definition it's not anonymized.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803063)

Their service says that they use advanced technological means to do the transcription. They do not.

Any sufficiently advanced AI is indistinguishable from a Pakistani sweat shop worker.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803097)

Well it is possible to anonymise the data somewhat. It's very easy for software to detect distinct words even if it can't transcribe them, so if it passes different parts of the sentence to different people, they're unlikely to reconstruct it.

To go even farther - most software provides a confidence level for recognition that can be on a per word basis, so they could take any words with a confidence level under 50 and send those words out to the humans, while keeping the high confidence words from the machine separate until they're combined into the final transcription.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803215)

What?

No.

Their service says that they keep user supplied data in house. They do not.
Their service says that they use advanced technological means to do the transcription. They do not.

How on earth do you take that to mean 'their service does what it says'?

You are wrong.

You seemed to have forgotten to attach Proof.zip before hitting send.
You say "They do not" as if one could tell from the situation that they do or do not.

Knowing how companies lie, you clearly can not choose the wine in front of them.
Knowing how disgruntled ex-employees lie, you can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

intx13 (808988) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801601)

It may be they lied about keeping user supplied data in house, and they may have implied that they used advanced technological means to do the transcription, but if their service does what it says I can't blame them for using human labour to do the transcription.

I don't know... an unethical service, an unscrupulous company, a management with the lack of business sense to realize this is a public relations disaster, a fiscally untenable platform, and (possibly) opens them up to legal action... I'd call that crazy.

Sure, the technology works, but the whole idea is preposterous. Who transcribes the workers' voice mail? Or is voice mail transcription reserved for the upper class? Surely it's not such an elite service to warrant that treatment, which indicates that something went wrong in the management's thinking.

Re:But it's not crazy (4, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801657)

>>>Human brains remain the only high performance computer manufactured with unskilled labour.

I object! It takes a lot of skill to satisfy today's demanding women. And what happens if you lack that skill? They'll just jump ship to some other guy's bed. Unskilled labor indeed. It takes a lot of skill to convince Miss Prissy to let her guard down, bribe her with a 50,000 dollar wedding, remove the diaphragm, and let you impregnate her.

No I'm not bitter.

Although I do have this gnawing pain in my gut until I can taste the bile rising up my throat and into my mouth. Well. Maybe I'm a little bitter. Or else I just have heartburn; anybody have a TicTac?

Re:But it's not crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801695)

I was with you right up till the impregnate part. Why the fuck would you want to do that?

The sex part is fun, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to knock her up.

Re:But it's not crazy (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801759)

I have an impregnation fetish, you insensitive clod. Seriously --- it's very erotic to have completely uninhibited, unprotected sex that satisfies our most primordial instincts. As much as we might kick ourselves afterward, there's no greater visceral satisfaction that filling up a fertile woman with spunk.

Re:But it's not crazy (2, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802141)

You try to hard, it's really not that complicated.

A brain comes from moron woman even if it has the IQ of a contraceptive sponge.

Re:But it's not crazy (2, Interesting)

sixtrillionmiles (1604439) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801841)

One of my first jobs was for a company that scanned medical records and had computers read the text. Or, at least, that was how they advertised it. Actually it was me and about 100 other people reading the medical records and typing them in...

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801865)

It may be they lied about keeping user supplied data in house, and they may have implied that they used advanced technological means to do the transcription, but if their service does what it says I can't blame them for using human labour to do the transcription.

Controlling who has access to the private messages in a particular way is part of what they said they would do for the people using the service, so, no, if they said they were doing automated transcription and keeping all personal data inside Europe when in fact they were sending it outside of Europe and having humans transcribe it, the service was not doing what they claimed.

And, again assuming the claims are true, the way in which it was not doing what it claimed was quite probably a way that was both important to its users.

Re:But it's not crazy (1)

kbromer (1220380) | more than 3 years ago | (#28802019)

Whoa, whoa, whoa... "Unskilled labor"??? You just TRY and call my wife 'unskilled labor'. Trust me, doesn't work out well.

Re:But it's not crazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802879)

Actually, I think he may be calling your mother "unskilled labor".

Speech 3.0 (5, Funny)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801487)

Now with 20% more vowels!

Re:Speech 3.0 (3, Funny)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801613)

Now with 20% more vowels!

So it's Japanese? :-)

Re:Speech 3.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802305)

How many vowels do you think Japanese has? Japanese has a tiny number of syllables compared to English, if you haven't noticed.

Re:Speech 3.0 (4, Interesting)

amake (673443) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802389)

He's probably referring to the frequency with which vowels appear in any given word. Yes, Japanese has only 5 vowels, but because almost all syllables in the language are simple (1 consonant)(1 vowel) pairs, almost every other letter in a written word is a vowel.

A common tongue twister:

Nama-mugi, nama-gome, nama-tamago (uncooked wheat, uncooked rice, uncooked eggs)

Notice the abundance of vowels.

Re:Speech 3.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28803019)

A common tongue twister:

Nama-mugi, nama-gome, nama-tamago (uncooked wheat, uncooked rice, uncooked eggs)

Well try saying "uncooked wheat, uncooked rice, uncooked eggs" 10 times...

Re:Speech 3.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28803217)

Uncooked: 4 vowels, 4 consonants
Wheat: 2 vowels, 3 consonants
Rice: 2 vowels, 2 consonants
Eggs: 1 vowel, 3 consonants
Ok, so, it's really not all that much better in English, is it?

Business 3.0? (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801497)

We're not even done with Bubble 2.0 yet!

Re:Business 3.0? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801623)

We're already on Bubble 4.0. The first bubble was Goldman Sachs orchestration of the dot-com bubble (selling worthless websites to stock market speculators). The second was the mortgage bubble. Then Goldman Sachs orchestrated the oil bubble of 2008, and now they're creating another bubble built on money borrowed from China (aka the bailout bubble) which is not real production, but fiat.

That's 4.

So invest now in the market. Thanks to Goldman and their buds in the treasury/central bank (former GS employees), Bubble 4.0 will soar to 15,000 and sometime in 2004 will burst, so make sure to sell your stock in 2003. Aren't roller coasters fun?

Re:Business 3.0? (4, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801687)

When we repealed the (very good) legislation enacted in response to the Great Depression, we restore to market to its natural boom-bust cycle. We'll keep going through these periods until we restore the safeguards that our great-grandparents wisely created. Even without the dubious benefits of computer models and Chicago economics, these people gave us 50 years of prosperity that we've managed to wreck in a decade. Shouldn't we stop arrogantly assuming that they were wrong, we are right, and accept that we might need regulation after all?

Re:Business 3.0? (0, Flamebait)

generic.individual (1590219) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802077)

Deregulating everything would have worked great if the damn liberals hadn't snuck in all those new regulations. That's what the real problem is. Without the socialist/communist liberals a pinch of free market pixie dust is all it ever takes to overcome the greatest of obstacles. Of course, that pixie dust doesn't work when covered in a plastic condom of "checks" and "safe-guards"

Economic Dogmas (3, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802931)

The real problem is that people have lost their heads in the United States. The return of evangelicals has led to an atmosphere that is literally opposed to science. So, you get exactly what you expect. Opinions that are based on anecdote and wish thinking instead of data. The reason science works is because you start with the assumption that you don't know something until you can prove that you probably know it, with repeatable, verifiable results. When you start trusting the word of pill junkies [rushlimbaugh.com] and homophobic college dropouts [hannity.com] versus the entire scientific community and their reams of data, get ready for some wide-reaching and catastrophic fuckups.

Canada kept the rules. The Canadian banking system is still the most sound. Every time we take cops off the financial beat, we end up with a banking crisis. These realities can be arrived at by simply reading about the last 30 years of panics, and the hundred years of bank panics that existed before the FDIC and sensible Great Depression legislation.

But leave it to the same fuckers from Harvard, who apparently can't even manage a college trust [vanityfair.com] without running it into the ground.

The pro-market propaganda will continue, and probably destroy our economy beyond repair. And then some wise ass will say that it shows that the market does work, by wiping itself out.

Re:Business 3.0? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802993)

The problem is when we have this regulation, but other countries don't. It is all part of living in a global economy. If you hobble your own companies, then global companies grow bigger and the dominate.

Re:Business 3.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802899)

Personally, I like to create conspiracy theories about how various Open Source promoters are child molesters and then post it on the interwebs.

Can you give me any tips?

How good can a transcription be? (3, Interesting)

Ponga (934481) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801499)

Seriously. If their target market is English speakers and the people doing the translating don't speak English as their primary language... dude. Seriously. Nevermind the privacy issues here...

Re:How good can a transcription be? (1)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801619)

See, if a computer changes the word "plain" to "plane" then that's ok. However, if a non-English speaking person does it, well that's downright unacceptable!

Re:How good can a transcription be? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801689)

I dont want any curry nigger near my language

Re:How good can a transcription be? (5, Funny)

ZosoZ (1603973) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801769)

There service is grate eye ewe sit all the thyme and have no Corrs two comp lane. The dick shun eerie cheque reports no missed aches.

Re:How good can a transcription be? (1)

Pincus (744497) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801821)

That's what makes it authentic! If the transcription service got every word correct, you'd know something was fishy.

The more you know (1)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802371)

South Africa and the Philippines have large english speaking populations.

Re:The more you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802407)

So does my asshole you faggot piece of shit!

Re:The more you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802685)

wtf?

Re:How good can a transcription be? (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802795)

What's the problem?

There's no privacy issues. If the translators don't speak english, they won't learn any secrets.

It's not a bug; it's a feature.

Mod me down you faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801521)

Niggers!

new text-to-speech algorithm (2, Funny)

Pessimist+Cynic (1587497) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801529)

That's awful.
By the way I'm releasing a new text-to-speech service; the algorithm makes for a very smooth speech. It does however have a little bit of an accent.

Pixie Dust? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801609)

They just need more of that.

In case you were wondering.. (4, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801625)

From their PDF:

Speech 3.0: Fully-hosted, commercial strength SLAs, proven scale and reliability - no CapEx. Scales on demand to 150m capacity

So Speech 3.0 provides 150 meters of service-level agreements with no experience-point cap.

Voice 3.0: Superior and proven range of voice products. We repeatedly deliver great, mass-market experiences with our expertise in marketing and management of all lifecycle stages.

Voice 3.0 takes you from larva, through pupa, all the way to butterfly, and then you die and get eaten.

Business 3.0: Mature yet flexible business models - designed to adapt to the dynamics of service brands we partner with, from on-demand to full lifecycle revenue strategies

Business 3.0 is apparently a flexible business model where they interact with their partners. So that's new I guess, no one has thought of that yet. It's also where people who write marketing buzzwords go to die.

Was bound to happen (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801639)

The speeck recognition people have broken their promises for several decades now. Using humans is still the only working speaker-independent way to do it.

What I find surprising is that it is apparently not cost effective. Here is an alternate approach: Have people transcribe it, but let them look at "pictures" as reward. Seems to be working well in breaking catchpas, so why not for this?

Re:Was bound to happen (2, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801871)

The speeck recognition people have broken their promises for several decades now. Using humans is still the only working speaker-independent way to do it.

Okay, humans never screw up their speeck recognition, but that doesn't guarantee that the speeck is correctly transcribed.

Denial from Spinvox here (4, Informative)

bheer (633842) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801653)

Spinvox has a denial here [guardian.co.uk], claiming this is a case of disgruntled employees spreading falsehoods.

Of course one'd expect them to deny it, but they've just upped the stakes. They would be in violation of UK privacy laws *and* lying through their teeth if this denial is false.

Re:Denial from Spinvox here (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801801)

It says a lot about the world that no other nation yet has the 1st and 2nd amendment.

Hardly. Just because the US wrote theirs down in amendments and then wrote the exceptions and limitations down in laws doesn't mean that any other way of doing it is lacking.

Gee, a couple 200 year dead men write down a half-decent first-attempt at governance and all of a sudden it's gospel.

Re:Denial from Spinvox here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802153)

Wow, you sure can hold a grudge for a long, loooong time.

NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!

Re:Denial from Spinvox here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801863)

I'd love to work at a place with a chief executive that hot. She's smoking. I'd run her sales report any day.

Re:Denial from Spinvox here (3, Informative)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802887)

Well, apparently they're disgruntled because allegedly they're getting private medical treatment denied because the premium's are not being paid, and they've been asked to salary for 2 months not as cash, but as share options.

Automatic Slashdot speech-to-text (5, Funny)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801661)

That's nothing, I just bought an application that converts my speech to text. Read that back to me. I said, read that back to me. God damn it, what the hell is wrong with this thing. Stupid blinking light, what the hell is that supposed to mean? This is... oh here we go. No, don't send

Captcha cracking (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801873)

They could go a step further, using the strategy used to crack captchas [boingboing.net], putting humans to "solve" the problem of telling what is being said in a sound file to be able to access the next part of a porn image or another kind of non economical incentive. Don't have to be the full message, just parts between pauses or things like that

Nothing new here (2, Insightful)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 3 years ago | (#28801895)

Human transcription performed on industrial scale by non-native speakers is nothing new. For example, medical imaging texts are typed up by Cheap Foreign Labour from voice messages recorded by doctors.
So remember this next time you read the analysis of your expensive MRI test. ;)

Re:Nothing new here (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803165)

Yeah, I mean you can see Benjamin Rand speaking into a medical transciption device as he modifies his will to include Peter Sellers' Chaunce the Gardener in the movie "Being There."

When all you have is a hammer... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28801907)

every problem looks like a nail.

When all you have is six billion, renewable fueled, autonomous, self replicating, self housing, self programing, hundred billion node neural networks...
who the fuck needs an AI for voice recognition?

Bender vs Apu (5, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802085)

Losing your job to Bender: technological progress.

Losing your job to Apu: outrage.

But really, what's the difference? A service is a service. It's all progress .. sort of.

Re:Bender vs Apu (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802187)

No curry nigger is gonna steal my job!

Re:Bender vs Apu (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802235)

fail.

bender does the job perfectly over and over for a lower cost.

Apu does a poor job, frequently making mistakes to the point he isn't cheaper in the long run.

THAT is where the outrage comes from.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802343)

bender does the job perfectly over and over for a lower cost.

You obviously haven't seen bender work.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802413)

Nobody has ever seen Bender work. Anyone who says he has done work is lying.

Re:Bender vs Apu (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802465)

I call Raciest on you.

You must not have worked with Indians before, they are just as good if not better then most American Workers, today.
Especially if you have a good management team who can talk the language and know the culture. Sure you will come up a couple of bad eggs or some horror stories. But really you can get those same stories from any group of people. However I find them in general to be very motivated workers and rather quite intelligent and willing to learn new things. They became the american ideal while we have gotten fat lazy and feeling entitled.

The Robot will not do the job perfectly, hence the completive advantage of SpinBox humans can translate human speech better then a computer can. Robots have a lot of hidden costs as well. You change your process you need a full set of new robots and technology. Or you spend a lot of money for more general use robots which preform slower.

The cost of outsourcing isn't as cheap as saying well and American gets paid $25 an hour while an Indian gets paid $5 so it is 5 times cheaper working with India. There is extra management of working with people in different areas and other costs however this is a management issue which can be optimized to work.

I am sure if the work was being outsourced to a country were people speak the same language and look and have a similar culture to us and lighter skin, then there would be less of an outrage. You may deny that fact, and you may believe your denial. However I bet if you honestly looked in yourself you will realize most of the outrage with Indian workers is that they are not you race of people.

Outsourcing to India has many benefits besides cost being halfway around the world allows 24 hour operations. In essence doubling your output. And they are hard workers who do good quality work. Now if your management is stupid then you may get bad results but that is true anywhere.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1, Interesting)

pbhj (607776) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803013)

I call Raciest on you.

You must not have worked with Indians before, they are just as good if not better then most American Workers, today.

All the ones I speak to in India are liars.

Guy on phone: "Hello, my name is Gordon"
Me: "Then how come you can't pronounce it?"
Guy: "We are calling from 3, your phone supplier, do you have contract at the moment"
Me: "If you're my supplier, you tell me"
Guy: "I'm sorry .."
Me: [HUP].

Beats starving to death for sure. If they didn't start the call by lying to me they'd stand a chance of me listening.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802447)

Losing your job to Bender: technological progress.

If you lost your job to Bender it means you're even lazier then the guy who accept packages at the moon amusement park

Re:Bender vs Apu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802585)

>lazier then the guy

May be you are more lazy _THAN_ the guy that learn English as a second language.

If THEN else
Greater THAN

If you don't even know these two, then you are not qualify to be on slashdot.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802727)

>May be you are more lazy _THAN_ the guy that learn English as a second language.

And you must be lazier than the guy that _LEARNED_ English as a second language.

>If you don't even know these two, then you are not qualify to be on slashdot.

I guess you're even less _QUALIFIED_ to be on Slashdot.

Re:Bender vs Apu (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802471)

Huh? What about Luddites?

People have been irate about losing their job to technology for a very long time.

And, people have been outrages about losing their job to immigrants for a long time.

I bet being outraged at losing one's job to outsourcing is the newest social phenomena.

You see, people want jobs and don't like losing their jobs. That's the source of the outrage, not the mechanism of job loss.

General purpose voice recognition* doesn't work (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802443)

If I can't understand a Geordie, let alone a god damn American, how the fuck will a computer, I doubt the Africans/Asians (who despite above claims probably speak the queens English a damn sight better than most of you guys (assuming slashdot is populated by gorram Americans)) will get it spot on, but their internal algorithms have had a data set of at least 18 years to train on, this beats any automated system!. Voice recognition* has its places (e.g the iPhone does it right), but transcription is not one of them, if humans work best (and I'm pretty fucking sure they will), just use humans and perhaps use automated cleanup on the input (remove names) and the output (use grammar checking).

*s/Voice recognition/Any natural language input/g

ridiculous (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28802509)

they dont even need to have speech recognition, they just need to recognize when a few word is spoken and have people listen to individual words.

Anonymous Coward (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28802783)

I have been using spinvox on my phone for almost two years. It works great, I don't ever get phone messages that have private / sensitive info. Even if they come out and say that they've been using people all this time, I'd still want to continue using the service. It's been great rarely having to listen to voice messages. In the past, my messages would build up for weeks to the point that my mailbox would be full and then I'd go through and delete them. If I had a missed call I'd call back and not listen to the message first. Now, I get an email almost immediately and can conveniently read the message. Maybe I'm just super lazy, but I like the service privacy issues be damned.

Virtual Labor (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803071)

This has parallels with the main premise of Sleep Dealer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0804529/ [imdb.com]

A theme in the film is Virtual Labor - robots of the future will really be remotely operated by cheap overseas labor. SpinVox is doing similar kind of things, but unlike Mechanical Turk has the factore of outsourcing to the low-wage regions.

What about Google Voice transciption? (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#28803153)

What about Google Voice transciption? It seems to do such a good job I always suspected it was Google's private version of Amazon Mechanical Turk.

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