Microsoft Software Takes on Foul Language
Article by George Norman
On 22 Oct 2008
Do you think bad language is offensive? You are not too fond of the “f” word? Well, it seems that you and Microsoft have something in common. The Redmond software manufacturer has finally received the patent for “Automatic censorship of audio data for broadcast” software, patent that was initially filed back in 2004. The audio data is fed to the software which analyzes it and when it detects certain words or word combinations that might be offensive, alters the audio stream in order to make said word “unintelligible or inaudible”. The goal is to prevent such foul uttering from reaching the ears of the listener, and do it all in real time. This means that the software can be used in all kinds of media: TV broadcasts, radio broadcasts, even Xbox Live. While TV stations and radio stations take great care not to broadcast foul language during certain periods of the day (all bets are off at night time), Xbox Live is a non stop cursing fest. Numerous users take advantage of the anonymity the Internet provides and show no restrain – four letter words are swiftly served to other players with no restraint whatsoever. There is a main difference between TV broadcasts and Xbox Live. During a TV show, there is a certain time delay between the time a person speaks and the time the audience gets to hear those words. On Xbox Live, there is no such delay – it all occurs naturally. When a player feels the need to share something, he just opens his mouth and says it. This is where Microsoft's software comes into its own – it can perform its duties in real time. It can render that “f” word inaudible as soon as it leaves your lips. As someone who has a bit of experience with audio transcriptions, I can vouch that people can put out an amazing amount of words per second – which makes the software's job that much harder. There are two questions that come to mind. Number one: will this software actually work? Number two: if it does work, who will implement it?



Tags: Microsoft
About the author: George Norman
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