Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Video: Ultimate Caption Fail!

A student shared this video with Chris, who shared it with me. It's too funny not to share with anyone interested in language or funniness.

If any of you are going through withdrawals from school work, you should go through the original transcript and compare it phonetically to the second one. It would be interesting to see just where the program went wrong.

Examples like this raise an interesting point about the abilities of computers to work with human language--notice that in the video, the speakers often spoke fast or in different intonations. Human ears and brains are designed to work with variegated--and incomplete--inputs, but computers deal best with inputs that do not vary, and they don't work well with needing to "fill in the blanks". (Some of you may be nodding as you remember the last time you tried to speak into an automated computer on the other end of the phone, and it kept replying, "I don't understand. Repeat what you said.")

What's the funniest misunderstanding you've had with a computer?