Can technology do a better job than humans identifying songs?

Much has been made about the recent advancement of technology for personal use. From Apple Siri to Microsoft Cortona, these different forms of technology act as a personal assistant, instantly connecting to the Internet and helping someone such as yourself identify anything from upcoming weather to helping you buy tickets for an upcoming flight. But what about a more advanced form of technology? IBM’s Watson appeared on Jeopardy! and torched the other contestants. Of course, when timing and single word answers are at play, that shouldn’t prove to be all that surprising. Computers work faster than the human mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean a computer is better at everything. Recent tests have been conducted to see just how the human mind stands up against IBM’s Watson in different categories, including the ability to identify song lyrics.

Identifying the lyrics

If you have never heard a song before and a song starts to play, chances are you might not be able to identify everything a person sings. In fact, some people are downright impossible to understand at all. For a professional translator, they do this for a living and they have a keener ear on listening to what someone says despite background noise and sounds (such as sounds coming from musical instruments). With that being said though, a computer that does not have access to the Internet to look up the lyrics might have the exact same problem as the average human. To see exactly how Watson and a professional fair at this kind of a challenge, they were asked to listen to different songs covering different genres and required to write out the lyrics they hear.

The music

Now, some people have an ear for certain kinds of music. Professionals have the ability to improve upon over what the average individual such as yourself might be able to identify, but testing out different lyrics from different genres of music is important. That is why the test covered everything from country to rock and pop. This way, it is more than just one song that a computer or person might fair better on, but multiple genres to see just what service is actually better.

The Results

After the conclusion of the testing, it proved a professional is far better at identifying these lyrics than a computer. Watson could identify some of these different lyrics, but it usually jumbled up different words, missed words completely or just didn’t know the basic meaning of the song. With the professional, they did not miss a single word or confuse words on any of the tracks. This just shows they are able to not only hear everything being said but use their heads to write out the most accurate meaning. This is why many individuals who are looking for the very best translation services look towards a professional human over a computer system.