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The RoBlog
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Technology Review: Unprecedented Electronic Net Over the Olympics
I have a suspicion that the "Big Brother" technology being used to monitor activities at important security sites (airports, event locations and the like) during the Olympics doesn't work quite as well as the below article (or more likely the people involved in the system) would like us to believe. My experience has been that speech-to-text technology, especially in noisy environments, still has quite a ways to go to be of much use. I wonder how many false alarms will get triggered, for example, because the audio analysis didn't pick up which language was being spoken, or just heard some things phonetically similar to buzz phrases but with too much acoustical ambiguity to be sure.

In any case, it does indicate that we're closer yet to the Orwellian future, if not 20 years later (not that I believe that constant monitoring of citizens is in our future, but I tend to be optimistic in that respect).

It is also an interesting case study in what you might be able to do with increasingly sophisticated "off the shelf" software (like Autonomy, mentioned in this article) in combination and/or with some custom bits as well. I expect we'll be able to do some pretty cool things with standard software packages plugged into each other fairly soon.

Technology Review: Unprecedented Electronic Net Over the Olympics
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