Siri, You Almost Ruined My Life

Court reporters are responsible for preserving the record. They are present to ensure people don’t speak over one another, that a person does not speak incoherently, and to get clarification when needed. Could you imagine a transcript that was created using speech recognition from an audio recording? What if the microphone did not capture the entire room? What if the bilingual witness spoke in Spanglish? What if the attorneys were speaking over one another? The transcript would not be nearly as accurate as the parties and the Court would expect. So imagine, what would your life be like without your human court reporter?

Speech recognition can be a fun and sometimes even helpful tool, but sometimes speech recognition can ruin lives! The list could go on and on with incorrect transcriptions using speech recognition, and most of the time the mistakes are trivial, but sometimes….not so much.

Minnesota -> mini soda.

Leslie -> leaky

Hamster -> gangster

I could also go on and on listing incorrect transcription that are embarrassing, yet very recoverable.

Pringles -> pregnant … I was just trying to tell my fiancé I was getting Pringles.

ABC Liquor -> ABC lick her … I was just trying to tell my dad I was stopping at ABC Liquor.

What I have learned is the combination of audio recording and speech recognition will NEVER be able to do what a human can. Court reporters go to school for 3+ years to learn a specific court reporter theory and become experts in the English language. Reporters also learn to clarify spellings of common or uncommon names and pick up cues based on lip movements and pronunciation. The 3+ years in school still doesn’t mean you are able to take on a big case or trials. It takes many more years of experience before reporters are able to master incredibly difficult medical terminology and other technical terminology that experts rattle off at 225 words per minute and faster.

So, want to know how speech recognition almost ruined my life? I was emailing a colleague of mine using Siri as I was walking, and I said “Can you send me the POD tonight?” (POD is an acronym for proof of delivery.)

As my finger hovered over the send button, I glanced at my phone. I was so shocked and scared I had hit send already that I partly fell into an open man hole as I read “Can you send me the pee on me tonight.” Don’t worry, I managed to leave with only a few bumps and bruises. But let’s just say, like drinking and driving, Siri and walking don’t mix.

Do you have a funny story about how Siri almost ruined your life? Tell us! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email address below for more legal news and occurrences!

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