Posted on Leave a comment

My best friends: me, myself and I

I talk to my computer. It responds better when I do. My friends and family look at me sideways and pause to make sure I’m not addressing them; I’m talking to myself. Aloud. With purpose. They ask, "are you feeling okay?" They think, "he’s flown over the cuckoo’s nest!" Now, I’m vindicated!

In a recent study published in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, psychologists Gary Lupyan (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Daniel Swingley (University of Pennsylvania) conducted a series of experiments to discover whether talking to oneself can help when searching for particular objects. … It was found that speaking to themselves helped people find the objects more quickly.

[Source, Science Daily, It Doesn’t Mean You’re Crazy – Talking to Yourself Has Cognitive Benefits, Study Finds]
[Derived from Source, AlphaGalileo Foundation, It Doesn’t Mean You’re Crazy – Talking To Yourself Has Cognitive Benefits, Study Finds]
[Original Source, Taylor & Francis Group, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology – Self-directed speech affects visual search performance]

Posted on 6 Comments

Think Before You Kill Julian Assange

Many people are in a uproar over the Wikileaks release of 251,287 United States embassy cables "the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain." Reaction has included suggestions of naming Wikileaks as a terrorist organization. Some people have called for the execution of Julian Assange as a traitor. Proceed with caution! I’d like to take a moment to point out that history is repeating itself. Recall the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. This exact situation was tried in 1971 in New York Times Co. v. United States with the outcome being the release of the documents is protected by the First Amendment.

Though inconvenient for officials, the revelation of information contained in any of the WikiLeaks files, much like the Pentagon Papers amid the Vietnam war, is protected by the First Amendment — a point made by the US Supreme Court in New York Times Co. v. United States in 1971.

[Source, The Raw Story, GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’]

In all that I have read, and in all the news commentary I have watched on television and online, nothing has been as notable and as important as the next three paragraphs of The Raw Story’s article.

"In seeking injunctions against these newspapers and in its presentation to the Court, the Executive Branch seems to have forgotten the essential purpose and history of the First Amendment," Justices Hugo Black and William Douglas wrote, taking the side of the Times, which had recently published what was then considered the largest cache of secret military information in US history.

[Source, The Raw Story, GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ emphasis added]

Read this next paragraph twice. This paragraph notes where main stream media is failing in its job in the name of page views, popularity and ad sales rather than serving the governed. Wikileaks has stepped up to do the job that our press corp has quit.

"In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy," they continued. "The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government."

[Source, The Raw Story, GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ emphasis added]

In conclusion, before passing negative judgment against Julian Assange and Wikileaks, read the words of Justices Black and Douglas in regard to the Pentagon Papers.

After the release of the Pentagon Papers, Justices Black and Douglas opined that "newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do."

[Source, The Raw Story, GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ emphasis added]

Please go to The Raw Story and read the entire article titled GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’. Take note that the people wanting to declare Wikileaks a terrorist organization and suppress information keeping you, the citizenry, in the dark are the exact same people embarrassed, or in a position of having their careers ended, by the release of these documents, like Hillary Clinton.

To close, one more quote from The Raw Story. Justice Potter Stewart’s comment.

Justice Potter Stewart added: "In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry – in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government. For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the First Amendment. For without an informed and free press there cannot be an enlightened people."

[Source, The Raw Story, GOP Rep. asks Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ emphasis added]

Posted on Leave a comment

It’s people. Soylent Jott is made out of people. They’re making our text out of people.

Last night, Lissa Kay asks if I know how Jott works. I used to work at The Learning Company in its foreign language division which was bleeding edge when it came to speech recognition (which is different than voice recognition btw). I knew all about Lernout & Hauspie and how to trick Dragon Speech. Jott’s accuracy (not demonstrated last night) has always amazed me because there is no training involved. You sign up for an account and instantly start using it. Most speech-to-text software requires some training which usually involves reading several paragraphs of text to the software so it can learn the nuances of your speech patterns.

As it turns out, Jott combines machine translation and humans to convert the speech to text.

If we were dealing with a very limited set of words, in a known context, spoken very clearly by a accentless person in a noise-free environment, then pure machine-driven Speech Recognition might have been the way to go. Instead, we wanted to be immediately useful and simple to adopt, letting any English speaker jott using an ordinary cell-phone, their natural voice, in a realistic setting (their car, running between meetings, etc.). So we use a mixed Human/Machine method for transcription, and that blend will change over time. [Source, Entrepreneur27, Interview with John Pollard of Jott]

Since Jott uses humans, you can spell difficult words to assure they get turned to text correctly. I have inquired to see if Jott plans to support IM, SMS, and emails sent to the inbox.

See a screenshot, the numerous services to which Jott can post, and my thoughts on Jott at the bottom of Rough Week Behind Redux to Follow.