Anyone who’s ever used Siri has likely experienced the frustration of not being understood. There’s a fundamental – almost existential – panic that surfaces when someone else doesn’t know what you’re saying.
It’s an even bigger problem for people with accents other than “General American English”. Voice interfaces struggle with accents, from regional American accents to foreign-accented speech. But why?
Almost all visions of “the future” include computers that we can talk to. Something about language seems central to our understanding of intelligence, and often it is taken as a given that intelligent machines will be conversant with humans.
People like to label things.
One of the best-known examples of a classification scheme is our biological taxonomy, which is meant to show the relationships of different organisms to each other. But no taxonomy is set in stone; even our biological taxonomy has undergone many changes in the last century.
This got me thinking: how does our method for classifying organisms work? And what’s the point of a taxonomy, anyway?
Gender is now recognized as an important social issue. Politicians, the media, and laypeople alike are discussing and debating topics like the gender wage gap, workplace sexual harassment, and institutionalized prejudice.
Another area where gender crops up is education. Continue reading