Monday, October 20, 2008

Microsoft gets patent for real-time f-bomb bleeping

In 2004, Microsoft applied for a patent for real-time censoring of audio streams, and now, they have been granted that patent by the USPTO.  What does this mean for Microsoft users? Everyone knows that beating other players online is much more satisfying than beating a computer in a video game, and know a days, you can talk to people, as if they were in the same room as you.  This has caused a huge audience of users to compete online against other players.  With the anonymous nature of the internet and of online Xbox communication, this means that you are going to play against people who will not be filtering what they say.  Cuss words are a very common thing to encounter while playing Xbox Live.  The gamer who is cussing however is most likely a young kid, who still thinks its funny to cuss at and insult people, but in the future, you may not have to worry about this any more.

This patent involves a real-time analysis of the audio stream, which will be able to recognize inappropriate language based on phonemes (the smallest phonetic unit in a language that is capable of conveying a distinction in meaning), and then it will overwrite these inappropriate words with bleeps, noises, or a silence.

With this new technology, is it possible to create other uses for it?  I think in the future, live television shows will actually be live, but still be protected from the FCC, but also it could possibly reach cell phones.  Cell phones are great for talking to people about how you really feel about something, but if this new technology were to be incorporated into future devices, it could put a damper on the realness of cell phone conversations.


ervolsen said...

That would be really lame if Microsoft actually did do this. They wouldn't be able to do it anyways. What if people are speaking a different language? Has an accent?

patrick morrison said...

so, words like "fudge", "ship", and "bits" could be filtered?

HAYNE said...

Real-time censoring comes too close to the Big Brother picture for me to feel comfortable. Isn't constantly overseeing every phenome of real-time communication crossing some sort of line regarding our constitutional rights? First amendment, anyone? I just want to know Microsoft's motive behind being granted this patent; is it really to make the online chatting scene less vulgar, or is it for a more subtle reason, such as testing new technology for something else? The reason why I speculate the latter theory is that they wanted to patent the censoring of these audio streams: what's it to them if anyone else uses the idea?
I read the post and the pertinent article, and I'm just very bothered by all of it.

patrick morrison said...

its so they dont get sued by parents who let their kids play online and communicate with anyone in the world, and still expect them not to hear bad words