The Nexus One's @#$% Voice Recognition Censorship
Reuters discovered that if, for example, you wanted to SMS the sentence "Where the $%^# are you?" to your friend, who may be running late, the word "$%^# " (which we're obviously censoring ourselves) will be instead replaced by #### (the correct number of #s for the word, assuming the Nexus One recognized the word properly). So why, free speech advocates might ask, should the device do this?
Well, the answer is related to our comment above about "assuming the Nexus One recognized the word properly." It's about the device recognizing non-profanity as profanity, not the cursing itself. Google said:
“We filter potentially offensive or inappropriate results because we want to avoid situations whereby we might misrecognize a spoken query and return profanity when, in fact, the user said something completely innocent.Anyone who's ever experienced the vagaries of "Call so-and-so" with the response from your phone of "Say a command" will understand where that comes from.
“Ultimately our goal is to return results that show exactly what you said, and we’re constantly working to improve the technology to better fit our users’ needs.”
As a demonstration of that sort of technology faux pas, and in an attempt to plug a comedy we love, there was a great episode of the new series "Modern Family" this week where Mitchell, speaking about where his father should go and prompted by his car's GPS with "Enter destination," replied "Hell," to which the car replied "Mexican food."
That's a little over 4 minutes into this Hulu video: