Saturday, January 19, 2008

Open source speech recognition

An open source speech-recognition and text-to-speech software suite was recently released. This is clearly useful for disabled people, but it can also be put to good use in rural areas having high illiteracy. For example, microfinance transactions can be automatically recorded and verified by having people speak into a mobile device, or maybe even into a simple taperecorder that can be replayed and digitized later. A similar system can be used to record payments made in rural employment schemes, where much corruption happens because proper documentation is not maintained in electronic form so that it can be easily checked for discrepancies. Rural banking institutions are trying to do something similar, but it'll be great to have an open-source solution to all this.