It’s probably not nice, strictly speaking, but I found myself laughing when I heard that Watchdog had dedicated part of their show to the story that Brain Training has trouble recognising northern accents. I could probably be slightly offensive and point out that if it tells you to say “yellow” and you say “yeller”, your brain age probably isn’t that high, but I won’t. Oops.
Sorry, that was a low blow. I love you all, really.
In reality, it raises quite an interesting point. I can remember importing Seaman for the Dreamcast, which was rather excellent except for the fact that I had to play it with a faux American accent in order for it to be able to understand what I was saying. While I’m sure that the subsequent eight years have brought great advancements in voice recognition technology, whichever way you spin things the DS is no Dreamcast. The fact that it can even recognise such a wide variety of moderate accents – my American copy can handle my English accent just fine – is quite impressive really.
But the point is that people expect things to just work, when in reality those with realistic expectations know that voice recognition is still hit and miss. The fact that “yellow” can be pronounced both “yellow” and “yeller” and still mean the same isn’t an easy thing to tell something that thinks in such black and white terms as a computer. There are phones that are significantly more powerful than the DS and yet I’ve yet to see one of those with a reliable voice-dialling feature. And has anyone managed to use one of those phone systems with voice recognition without having to repeat themselves oh, I don’t know, every time?
Just click the above link and watch the Watchdog segment. Not only does the woman have a strong accent, she apparently wants to stack the deck by standing in the middle of a bloody town centre and trying to use it. People are being “clearly discriminated against”? Yes, people who aren’t idiots are being discriminated against by having their licence fee money spent on this tripe. Here’s a free idea for you, Nintendo: Elocution Training. You’ll make millions.