Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A database for all conversations

I'm not sure if I should be impressed or scared by this piece of news reported by Wired. US DARPA researchers are planning to create a database that will store every conversation they can record: phone conversation, Internet chat, conversations at meetings and presumably every where that the human voice can be (legally) recorded. Clearly such a repository would be of great value to researchers in natural language understanding and I suppose historians. But, there is obviously the potential for harm through covert surveillance and unethical uses is huge. The project goes by the long title of "Blending Crowdsourcing with Automation for Fast, Cheap, and Accurate Analysis of Spontaneous Speech."

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