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Shall we play a game?

March 24, 2011

I love technology. It’s often awesome, and fun, and useful. Sure, lots of downside too. Enormous wastes of human effort, energy and brainpower (like, well, this blog, although “enormous” waste would be overstating it for several reasons), and, you know, landfills full of heavy metals. But mostly awesome.

One of my favorite new technologies is Google Voice. What Google Voice does (and, to be fair, it is in eternal “Beta”) is to give you a single “free” phone number (from some South Dakota area code) and lets you link all your landline and cell numbers to that one line. Then you can not only have communal voicemail, but they have a voice-recognition bot that will transcribe your messages and send them to you as a text message or email (or both).

Why is this so awesome? Because now not only do I not have to pick up the phone to actually speak to whoever is calling me (which I am loathe to do), but I also do not have to pick up the phone to retrieve my messages. Instead, I can just read them in black & white at my convenience. Nice, right?

But, here’s my cautionary tale. Technology has its limits. This is what happens when Google Voice’s transcription bot meets a radio car driver who is supposed to pick me up at the airport and is trying to tell me where he is:

Alright, My name is Bill it’s gonna look for the I would love them. Who. I’ll be glad to picked up from That was the midterm, so what the term, not waiting for you You can get all that. Think at it. Hello. Hey, What’s up. Yeah it’s a Yes, Hi. So that hey. She’s.

Truth be told, the actual voice message was far more (although not entirely) coherent. The bots still have a way to go. And Google Voice obviously ain’t run by JOSHUA.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2011 3:00 pm

    Those last six lines are like poetry!
    Think at it.
    Hey, What’s up.
    Yeah it’s a Yes,
    So that hey.

  2. Fat Al permalink*
    March 26, 2011 3:31 pm

    If I knew what a Haiku was, I bet it would be something like that.

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