Turns out Siri might be racist | KUOW News and Information

Turns out Siri might be racist

Sep 19, 2017

We use speech recognition every day, like providing captions on video for the hard of hearing and voice-to-text apps on our smart phones. But when it comes to how well the software understands various accents or dialects, Caucasian speakers are understood much better than people of color. 

UW linguistics PhD Rachael Tatman wanted to know why there was this disconnect. She told Katherine Banwell of KUOW's Race and Equity team why the problem exists. 

Here's an example of what she is talking about. Below is a clip of an African American man speaking:

What he says is: "She felt stressed. She ate a bowl of porridge, checked herself in the mirror and washed her face in a hurry."

Here's what the transcription says: "She fell straight. She ate a bowl of pores, checked herself in the mirror and watch the faith in a hurry."