Back in 2006, Microsoft delivered a hilarious on-stage performance of the new built-in Windows Vista speech recognition engine. At the annual Microsoft day-long analysts conference on 27 July of the past year, the auditorium got a tad more than it had initially bargained for. However, judging strictly by the volume of laughs, they enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Shanen Boettcher, a Windows Vista product manager, was demoing the then pre-RTM
operating system when he decided to take the routine presentation a step too far. You can see in the first video fragment embedded at the bottom of this article that Boettcher is not entirely convinced of demoing the speech recognition engine in Windows Vista with such a large crowd, but that he goes on a limb and does it anyway, much to his and the operating system's demise.
"Dear Aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all" was the unexpected result of the Vista speech recognition technology interpreting Boettcher's dictation. Of course that Microsoft blamed the fiasco not on the shortcomings of the Vista speech recognition technology but on the interference of the ambient noise. The one good thing that did emerge following the Vista speech comedy act, was a new brand of street-ware with the erroneous interpretation.
Still, this would not be the last time that the Windows Vista speech recognition would come into play. In mid February, following the launch of the operating system, reports emerged claiming that the speech recognition technology was a threat to the integrity of Windows Vista. In concordance with the warnings, James O'Connor, Symantec Security Response Engineer even compiled a video showing how the operating system could be attacked via the Internet through the speech recognition engine. Microsoft downplayed the threat for a series of legitimate reasons. But this does not mean that the technology is not acting up. The second video at the bottom will provide you with just an example of the Windows Vista speech recognition engine gone terribly awry.