Talk to me, baby...
Ian Andrew Bell
fork at ianbell.com
Wed Oct 22 17:01:28 PDT 2003
I use 411 with Bell often.
Emily invariably has a hard time with my white angle-saxon protestant
queen's english accent, and passes me off to Betty, or Marge, or
Jennifer. Their fully DNA-based speech-to-text algorithm seems to be
the only thing that works reliably.
On Wednesday, October 22, 2003, at 11:50 AM, jbone at place.org wrote:
> Voice XML gets some traction? I can't speak to Emily (huh, huh, huh -
> pun intended) but I know that if I ever meet Claire from Sprint in
> some virtual bar sometime I'm going to try to give her a piece of my
> mind. Not hopeful that this'll go anywhere --- "I'm... sorry, I
> didn't understand that." That patronizing tone, aaaargh! But I'm
> going to overload her puny Markov chains trying. ;-)
> Anybody hereabouts a Bell Canada customer w/ experience w/ Emily?
> [Hmmm... a quick Google reveals that Sprint is a customer of Nuance
> as well. Perhaps Emily and Claire are siblings. -jb]
> Talking to a computer named Emily
> Posted on:Wednesday, October 22, 2003
> In "2001: A Space Odyssey," a smooth-talking supercomputer named HAL
> 9000 (named after a fictional lab in Urbana, Illinois) sang, carried
> on conversations and killed humans who tried to unplug it. In 2003,
> the HAL is here, but its name is Emily and it gives out telephone
> Emily is actually a voice-automated directory service Bell Canada
> installed, according to Chuck Berger, CEO of Nuance Communications,
> the software company that came up with the system. The Nuance software
> is based on Voice XML, a version of the Extensible Markup Language for
> enabling voice applications.
> Rather than navigating through preset options on a keypad or speaking
> to an attendant, Emily (Emilie for French speakers) digests an oral
> query and spits out an answer. Voice-automated call centers will,
> Berger hopes, become one of the hot new Web services that will allow
> companies to reduce the size of their help desks and increase customer
> satisfaction by making it easier to access information. British
> Airways, he asserted, cut the average cost of a customer support call
> from $3.50 to 15 cents.
> "Next year, some major financial institutions will complete the pilot
> programs," Berger said. Wells Fargo is on the verge of deploying a
> voice-activated customer support service. Advances in the software
> will also reduce implementation costs.
> But will customers like it? Acceptance is "part technical, part
> cultural," Berger said. Spoofing the system has already spawned a Web
> site. Could a sequel be next?
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