Google is trying to better understand Scottish speech. The company recently posted a request for Scots to record a series of phrases that it will use to improve its speech recognition technology.
Google says the work will take about three hours to complete, and it will pay for the work—£27 for adult participants and £30 for kids. The phrases to be recorded are pretty standard—things like “Google, what’s the time?”—and Google has set a deadline of August 6th, which may be an indication of the urgency of the project from the company’s perspective.
With voice interaction emerging as a key user interface in the age of the Internet of Things, there is an arms race underway between Google, Apple, Amazon, and others to develop and refine speech and voice recognition technology. Meanwhile, the sociocultural implications of this trend are starting to emerge, with reports that people around the world are adapting their speech patterns to sound more like North Americans in order to facilitate voice interaction with their devices.
Google’s efforts in the case of the Scottish accent indicate what is at the very least an awareness of this issue on the company’s part, and point to a future in which voice and speech technology adapts to the user, and not the other way around.