But Some of My Favorite Words Have Four Letters!

by Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

The USPTO recently awarded a new patent to Microsoft: automatic censorship of audio data for broadcast. Simply put, it’s a way to detect “undesired words or phrases” in a speech audio stream and automatically garble them.

Just imagine! No longer must we live in a world in which our six o’clock news might be ruined by a reporter letting slip the F bomb because a real bomb just went off five feet away from him. Radio stations won’t have to worry about keeping one finger on the dump button in case a caller gets a little colorful. And tech support call centers can rest easy knowing that their customers won’t be offended by a frustrated employee who tells them to RTFM!

Of course, it looks like the major difference will be that unlike the bleeps of the past, there will be no “BLEEP!” to indicate that something has been censored at all. The offending words will simply be altered enough to be “unintelligible or inaudible.” Sort of like when you cover your words with a cough… only much more high-tech.

I wonder what Microsoft’s particular interest in this technology is. Maybe, as one of the new Mac commercials suggests, to bleep the word “Vista.”