Sunday, November 13, 2011

Voice Recognition Schmecognition Software

I had a question about some tickets I had bought online with Ticketmaster.  I was trying to reach a real person but this was seemingly impossible.  I was talking to a computer who was supposedly working with voice recognition software.  I was meant to say the number of my order into the phone, and it would repeat it back at me.  I said each number slowly and clearly into the receiver.  And, contrary to the usual background of screaming/crying/yelling kids, it was surprisingly quiet at the time.  That was because I was alone in the house.  Which almost never, ever happens.  It was a miracle, in fact.  However, that's another post. 

Anyway, the computer said, "This is the number I heard," and said a number.  Of course it was wrong.  It asked, "Is this correct?" to which I answered, "No!"

"My mistake," it continued pleasantly (for a computer), "please repeat the number."

So I did, this time enunciating even clearer and stating it very loudly and slowly.

Wrong again.  This time when it asked if it was right, my "No!" was a little testy.  But the time I'd repeated the very long number for the third time, I was starting to curse the automated voice in my head, and my tone was downright irritable.  I finally hung up on it, which didn't make me feel better at all, because it was a COMPUTER!  I didn't even have the satisfaction of annoying someone else the way they were annoying me.  Although I guess you can say things to a computer that you wouldn't dare to a human, like, "You are stupid!  Did you recognize that?!"

I mean, what about people who don't have English as their first language?  What about people who have a speech issue?  I haven't had a lisp since the fourth grade and I still have trouble.  How do other people deal with these voice un-recognition software things?  This isn't the first time this has happened to me.  I have tried them when I'm trying to find out the extension of a person working in an agency.  I'll say, "Jane Doe" and it will say, "I am connecting you to 'Frank Logan'."

"No!"  I will yell, "No, no NO!"

"I am connecting you to Jane Doe now..."!

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