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07 March, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now?

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (hey Wired!  it's an acronym, not a name), wants to record, transcribe, and archive every conversation you ever have

For those who really don't know what DARPA is (please join us in the 21st century!), think SciFi's "Eureka".  DARPA (ultimately, that means YOU) funds some crazy ideas, not unlike "Eureka"'s genii.  You almost certainly own something that originated from DARPA research.

Turns out that DARPA has, and has had for awhile, an interest in text-to-speech analysis, programs, and machines.  As contemplated in the link, below, "Imagine living in a world where every errant utterance you make is preserved forever."

Now, DARPA has awarded a $300,000 award for a new project, called “Blending Crowdsourcing with Automation for Fast, Cheap, and Accurate Analysis of Spontaneous Speech”, similar to EARS (Effective Affordable Reusable Speech-to-text), an earlier DARPA project.

As you read the article linked below, think about these quotes: "make conversational speech more accessible, more part of our permanent record"; "capture all these conversations and make use of them".  Those are from the grant recipient.

EARS was described by the Congressional Research Service  as focusing on speech picked up from broadcasts and telephone conversations, “as well as extract clues about the identity of speakers” for “the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities.”  Those "clues" won't be needed if people record themselves.

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