Microsoft’s speech recognition software now nearly as accurate as humans

Posted 21 August 2017 16:53 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Microsoft achieved a new record with its speech recognition software. In a test only 5.1% of all words was wrongly understood, according to the Redmond technology giant in a blog post on its website. The speech recognition software now makes just as much mistakes as a human would make.

In the test, the Microsoft software listened to the so-called ‘Switchboard’ package, a collection of recorded phone calls that is used by several companies and developers to test speech recognition software.

According to Microsoft the low error rate was achieved by predicting the next words in a dialogue. Currently the company uses speech recognition in its virtual assistant Cortana.


Earlier Microsoft also achieved a record with an error rate of 5.9%. The company then thought this was also the average error rate for humans. However, competitor IBM broke this record later with an error rate of 5.5%.

New research concluded that the human error rate is actually 5.1%, which was also the reason for Microsoft to try again.

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