A thing I thought

This video went around the interwebs a while back:

It makes a valuable point, so watch it.

But I was thinking about another way, not always so obviously racially coded, that doesn’t get as much media play and yet still gives a good example of the problems associated with idealized notions of what humans are and the way they look and act and communicate.

I came upon the following Facebook status update:

“Google Voice transcription of southern accents is hilarious. Mom’s message: “Doug was gonna get chicken feed with Joseph and ride him on the tractor and do some things and they comin’ over here.” Google heard: “and was going to get you can see with Joe’s Wilson Rod, I’m on the tractor and do something. Lynn I coming over her.”

Basically, Google Voice doesn’t hear the way people — real, valuable people — in this world talk.  And I’m sure that extends to other ways of talking, other dialects, that move within social groups.  Google decided that one type of social group mattered enough to track its software onto their speech patterns — and that, my friends, is a problem.

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