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back to article Holy f**k, Microsoft covers up ‘undesired’ words

Microsoft has gained patent rights to a technology for censoring speech. An automatic censoring filter, available in real-time mode or a batch mode, processes an input audio data stream containing speech and then alters “undesired words or phrases” to make them “unintelligible or inaudible”. The software giant was awarded …

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I predict a sudden rise in accidental spoonerisms

Callcenter employees will simply find alternative ways to express their ire - for example a Wunch of Bankers. How will the system filter this out?

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Coat

But....

...you can't...

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Gates Horns

Another M$ Original

Microsoft you can't

*SLAM*

Now they're even 'borrowing' ideas from the BOFH......

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Tom
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My first use for this

will be to use it to remove the words and phrases such as Microsoft, Windows, Fistula, dot net etc and associated sentences from any audio or visual stream coming through our firewall.

That should reduce their advertising.

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Gates Horns

Welcome to the new future. (est 1984)

So if it can detect certain words or phrases to mask them then I guess it can also replace them?

The new today bought to by M$:

Today it was reported that<INSERT>our glorious leader </INSERT> Bill Gates has once again <DELETE>stolen </DELETE><INSERT>given </INSERT> $10,000bn <DELETE>from </DELETE><INSERT>to </INSERT> windows users.

Hmm I can't see why M$ would like to have the patent on that at all. I wonder what they will be doing with it, I bet it'll be double-plus good.

ttfn

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There goes "Private Lives"

Amanda: Very flat, Nor-*beep*.

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Paris Hilton

Am I being thick

or have Microsoft just patented a technology that has existed for years and is used by pretty much every broadcaster in the world in some way or another?

If I am being thick, feel free to say so. I'm married, I'm used to it.

Paris, as she isn't remotely interested in censoring anything.

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Happy

Censoring the word "Vista" ?

Haha... and Apple today released an ad with the PC guy bleeping out the word Vista.

Funny coincidence!!

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Anonymous Coward

Well

This ******* **** is *****a* ** great *** idea-******** *****!

Harrumph! So there!

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See it in action here...

http://movies.apple.com/movies/us/apple/getamac/apple_getamac_vword_20081019_480x272.mov

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Linux

A title is required.

Customer > Hello Microsoft support, my machine is running slow.

MS Support > What OS are you running?

Customer > Vista...

MS Support > Well you should have installed Lin#BEEP#... you stu#BEEP#... twa#BEEEEEP#...

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Gates Horns

Undesired words?

Goggle

Apple

Anti-trust commission

Feel free to add to the list....

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Anonymous Coward

the real use...

... will be to filter the speech of customers who phone call centres, so that $COMPANY will no longer be able to hear exactly what you think of them.

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Won't work

>Or in call centres, if a shirty employee goes off the rails and starts swearing at the customer

That made me think of Basil Fawlty. He certainly went off the rails but I don't recall him swearing. This just proves that the software is utterly useless as you don't need to swear to insult and sometimes you can be extremely insulting whilst being very polite. But I forget, Americans don't understand the latter so how could Microsoft.

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Gates Horns

Have you heard?

Im sure this will be misused. E.g. digital phonecalls of the future...

Caller: Hi there; I have a problem with VISTA... what can I do?

Tech 1: Well there is a much better OS than VISTA: its called Lixxxspsdhfhdux....

Caller: Sorry I dont understand?

Tech 1: Well Lixusssshfhsux; it is the OS of choice for the small cheap computers... They often use flavours such as Xansshadhsdreooshhh or Ubusnshydftu...

Caller: Im sorry I really dont understand. There is some strange words.... Are you sure something is better than Vista?

Tech 1: Damn Microsoft filter...

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Joke

It's not entirely clear where Microsoft's interest in this technology lies

Realy,

You mean that MS have no reasion to turn my speach from 'Linux is grate' to 'Linux grates'

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I can just imagine it now...

'Well "beep"-damn you "Mellon-farmers"! I don't want any "funking" trouble with this software or the "bits" going to really the fan. Are you listening to me, you "money-framers"? '

It will certainly be a laugh testing it out on your favourite Indian sponsered call-centre staffer, available from your favourite energy supplier.

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One step closer...

to Demolition Man

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They've been censoring for years

Anyone who uses MSN will know that live realtime censorship has been in place for years. Although rather than replacing the undesired word with *** the whole message returns with a "unable to be sent" message. Coupled with the fact that the list of blocked words or terms changes silently from time to time, you may occasionally find yourself being unable to do things like share youtube links or talk about being a sysadmin.

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Jobs Horns

I've already seen it in action

in the latest 'V Word' Get a Mac ads

http://www.apple.com/getamac/ads/

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Happy

Who th* **** ***?

Well I d*** ** **** *** the *** **** ****** *** M*****oft c*n **** in their *** ***** with a big ** **** ****** ****, ****** *** untill it **** *** ****, ***** and they find a doctor to pull it back out.

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Happy

Bet it's US based

As MS stuff is always US biased, it will ban, going for a quick fag, but let wanker through, or is it understood over there now?

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Stop

This bodes unwell

http://notnews.today.com/2008/10/12/universal-internet-filter-plans-detailed/

has a suggestion as to how machine filtering will work.

But seriously, has the world gone >fornictioning< >sanity impared<. Between the UK's rather entertaining notion of manually cleaning all user generated content and MS's equally bat>quano< >sanity impared< notion of allowing the machines to censor us, has anyone considered the posibility that obscenity, crudity and unpleasantness are part of human society and need expression?

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Gates Halo

You know ...

Something tells me they will have problems implementing this at the Fukutoku Bank in Japan.

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Coat

This could have quite comedic implications for all the wrong reasons

Imagine having a live news broadcast edited in such a way that "less offensive" words are used in place of the original. Stuff like the olympic runner finding himself being called "Tyson Homosexual" on one website (as reported here http://blog.washingtonpost.com/sleuth/2008/07/christian_sites_ban_on_g_word.html ) would happen on a daily basis at the least opportune times in the worst possible way. What about substring matching? The good old clbuttic case of website software trying to clean up the content. Local news in Scunthorpe? Forget it.

Mine's the one with the plans to buttbuttinate the person who came up with this idea stuffed in the pocket.

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Xbox live

Would be pretty handy on Xbox live.

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Stop

Censoring the idiots

Surley it is more likely that this will be employed on XBox Live than on call centers. Right now I have to pretty much not use the voice chat stuff cause of all the fools that cant keep control of there language during online play. I certainly wouldnt even consider letting my younger kids on there.

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Joke

What about last names with dodgy words?

I feel sorry for anyone with the last name of Cockburn, especially if mispronounced:

"Thanks for your call, mister <BLEEP>burn!"

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The swanky people of Scunthorpe are really fucated

A phrase that will arise infrequently but may cause some problems.

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It had to be done

I *beep*ume the *beep*ple from s*beep*horpe are going to be especially *beep*ed by this. I think it's downright ri*beep*ulous.

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Boffin

Interesting

Sweet! Can I get the software on some nanomachines so that whenever someone says my name it comes out as La-Li-Lu-Le-Lo?*

*Spot the game reference.

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Another reason it won't work

I've just realised that when I speak as God intended people to speak then I say cunt quite a lot, as in...

Ah cunt - I couldn't

'e cunt - He couldn't

tha cunt - You couldn't

etc...

It would have to think a bit over the last example as it could also be the insult it sounds to be.

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Coat

Buncha smegheads

Seems they're trying to reduce us to their level of illiteracy. 'Pruning' the language never works.

BTW, anyone named Dick Peacock out there? 'Hi, my name is *bleep* *bleepbleep*'

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Gates Halo

xbox

I'll look forward to seeing this on xbox live, stop the little 5 year old who think its big and clever to swear and mention the revolution every 5 mins

Actually, a better system might be one that works off voice stress & context - in that example "going for a quick fag" would get through but shouting "you mother is a tulip!! you w*nk*r" would still get baned.

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Thank god it's MS who thought of it

If they patent it, does it mean that any other company - who might be able to make such a software work - won't be able to do it?

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Happy

[Inaudible] the censors!

Think of how many DJs' jobs could have been saved, in the 80s, when they spoonerized the album title "Cunning Stunts," had this technology been in place at that time.

Due to the law of unintended consquences, these holy crusades against smut always crash and burn. For instance, AOL gave up, some years back, when customers complained that its filter blocked the name of the very real USA city, Middlesex, New Jersey.

Moreover, these guardians of the public (or is that "pubic?") morality fail to grasp that people's imaginations are far smuttier than is real smut.

For instance, your cat is in your lap, and you say, "I'm sitting here, petting my pussy." Filtered, it becomes, "I'm sitting here, petting my [inadible]".

See what I mean? You are all total [inaudible]!

Martin

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Paris Hilton

Re: Interesting

Would that be Loom?

Paris, 'cos I'm about as sure as she would be

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I Wonder

I wonder if the "Undesired" list includes "Microsoft SUCKS" and/or "Linux is GREAT".

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what words are offensive?

We can all see that Middlesex and Cockburn and so on could be caught, but what of 'breast' as in 'breast cancer' or 'tit' as in 'tit-for-tat' or 'homosexual' as in 'a word that is never offensive, though it can be mistakenly applied to someone'?

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And another reason it won't work

If I might be permitted a further comment on Gods' own language and get another rude word in before they are banned. Cock is a term of endearment between males. My male elders call me cock, I call my male youngers and peers cock.

Oh, and rude reminded me of ruddy as in ruddy complexion, which set me off on a tangent and I recalled that Americans don't like the word knickers and don't even realise the correct meaning of it.

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Coat

What about...

...Dick van Dyke?

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Stop

Of course it will work

It might break a few (ok - quite a lot) of things and not make any sense but it will work

This is from a US corporation - you know - the country that is actually being sold on obama (sounds like therefore equals) osama.

And if you think its just a passing joke and no country of people could ever be so thick as to fall for that then just search on David Howard & niggardly

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Gates Halo

patent?

another patent on the bleeding obvious ? live tv has had to sort out this for years - isnt there a 5 second delay or something ? there has been text based censoring since there has been text based messaging! can we expect Father Ted episodes to filter out 'Fek 'as it sounds a bit like something else, thus making it appear far more sweary than it really is.

Bill would never swear!

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Go

I Wonder ...

... will "vole" be disallowed? Doesn't matter anyway, some of the best a$$ chewing sessions I've been privy too have used no vulgar words. Most languages are filled with descriptive terms that can be used in an intelligent conversation to get the point across and make the target individual understand what's really being said.

I do wonder if the frelling morons fully comprehend the depth of their stupidity, their canine heritage or the nature of their dung filled craniums. No doubt all of them have been passed from the bowel of Satan and rose to heights in the company based solely on "The Peter Principle".

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Gates Horns

@James

I don't know how you pronounce 'Scunthorpe', but a Yorkshireman would never fall foul of this.

Mind you, if he was trying to organise a ramble in the surrounding countryside, he might have a problem.

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Coat

@Soruk

On one internet forum I used, in a discussion of the works of the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, his name was rendered by their software as "Philip K Masculine Area"!

Mine's the one with a copy of Monty Python's "I bet you they won't play this song on the radio" in the pocket...

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@Chris W

Thank you so much for finding such an amusing and endearing way to let us all know of your cognitive difficulties and the unfortunate result, namely a minor prejudice regarding Americans' abilities to be both insulting and polite. Bless your heart!

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Gates Horns

To those who think this has been used before...

What's being patented is actually something rather novel. It *is* an auto-censoring technology, yes, but not for text, but rather for sound. And unlike the system used in mass media, it does not normally require human intervention. It employs speech recognition to determine what a person is saying, and if the odds are good (enough) that the word it heard was verboten, it then alters the soundwave of the word to censor it--realtime, with only a slight delay for processing rather than the seven-second delay used with human operators.

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censorware

Sounds like some of the features of Windows 7 are beginning to leak out. No doubt it will run at startup and cannot be uninstalled. I'll bet it has a snazzy 3-D interface and consumes 2GB of RAM too!

Thumbs down to automated censorship. Go [CENSORED] yourselves, Microsoft!

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"sCUNThorpe"

Let them censor that!

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