Posts Tagged ‘voice recognition’

Uncertainty of Our Existence


Barclays, the UK bank, is to replace the password system on its phone banking service with personal voice recognition. “Unlike a password,” avers Steven Cooper, Barclays’ head of personal banking, “each person’s voice is as unique as a fingerprint.” Yet the reality is we have no idea whether either fingerprints or voices are unique at all.

If you buy a ticket for the lottery, the chances of winning the big prize are about 14m to 1. You might therefore be justified in regarding that as evidence that you are unlikely to win, and not buy a ticket as a result. Yet after the draw is made and Ms X of Glasgow is announced in the newspapers as the winner, the known unlikelihood of winning is obviously not evidence that she did not win. She did win. Unlikely things do happen.

Notorious case of Sally Clark, an English solicitor, for the alleged murder of her two babies illustrates well the problem. The case against her turned on the evidence of an expert witness, Sir Roy Meadow, who argued that it was highly improbable that two of her babies could have been the victim of natural cot deaths. Sally was exonerated by an appeals court after serving three years in prison, but died four years later. Her family said in a statement that she had never recovered from the miscarriage of justice. Expert opinion of Meadow was proved wrong in relying on the statistical improbability. It is like a meteor when it sets going we may, by assessing the available data and past history predict a doomsday scenario. But suppose along the way the larger mass of Jupiter which is at that precise moment throwing up -Aurora flares up on Jupiter is caused by volcanic moon Io*, and its path veers off one millionth of a hair width? Over the wide expanse between the earth and Jupiter the meteor would have strayed so farther off from the earth. In short statistical probabilities are never 100% correct.

The way forward

What do these insights mean in practical terms? People might well argue that even with our limited sampling of human voices, we have good reason to suspect we are very unlikely to come across two different people who have identical voices, even if we could never discount the possibility. Fine. Let us say that.

Human voice patterns or iris recognition need not be assumed to be unique to be useful tools for protecting private access to our bank accounts. In the same way, fingerprints need not be assumed to be unique to be useful in courts.


*Starting in January 2014, a telescope aboard the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hisaki satellite focused on Jupiter for two months. At the same time, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope also focused on Jupiter for an hour each day for two weeks. Both observatories recorded random brightenings of the giant planet’s polar auroras.

These flare-ups occurred on days when the sun’s usual flow of charged particles was relatively weak. So the researchers conclude that they must be the result of the complex interactions between Jupiter and Io, and perhaps the other three Galilean moons of Jupiter — Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. (These four satellites were discovered by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1610.)

Io, Jupiter’s closest moon, gets “caught in this gravitational tug of war between Jupiter and the two other large moons, Europa and Ganymede,” study co-author Andrew Steffl, from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, told Space.com. “It gets squished and squashed,” which drives internal heat just like if you bend a paper clip back and forth in your hands.

This process, in turn, drives a series of active volcanoes on Io. And when those volcanoes erupt, they blast large amounts of electrons and electrically charged atoms into space.

Jupiter’s magnetic field catches these charged particles as it sweeps past Io and “forms a donut-shaped region of relatively high-density plasma around Jupiter,” said co-author John Clarke from Boston University. This so-called magnetosphere is so large that it encapsulates all of Jupiter’s 60-plus known moons and extends nearly as far as Saturn.

(ack: The Conversation-Is every human voice and fingerprint really unique?/Aug.11- Hugh McLachlan

Professor of Applied Philosophy, Glasgow Caledonian University


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Once Confucius called on Duke of Ai who wanted to discuss some matter with the sage. The duke being busy his chamberlain took to entertain him and while going through the album Confucius saw an autograph and exclaimed, ‘Chen Yu was here!’
The chamberlain was amazed. He wanted to know how he could guess it. The sage pointed to his hand and his literary name and said,’Nobody in the kingdom will style himself as Rotten Plum on the Golden Bough except he.’ Every person is unique. If it were not the case would gait recognition or iris scanning work? Take a tree for example. No single leaf is same as another.
What makes a leaf special or for that matter grass?
Every blade of grass has its purpose. If it had no meaning everything in this planet loses its meaning. Why must it be so? A grass works out its strategy in this world by submitting to its physical laws. If laws hold no meaning throw away the entire cosmos into some slag heap as useless. Some grass may despite absence of laws grow but it would be useless for man or cattle. Who shall risk making use of greens that are edible at one moment and inedible next moment?
We frame physical laws from our observation of the earth, physical reality of cosmos and say under such and such conditions it must be so. Take the case of a phenomenon like Aurora Borealis or Aurora Australis. It is due to the electrically charged particles traveling along the planet’s magnetic lines strike hydrogen molecules. As a result the molecules glow in the upper atmosphere. If similar conditions exist whether in Jupiter or anywhere in cosmos the same phenomenon should manifest. Would it not mean then that certain laws are in place? Laws of Nature?(selected– Sufficient unto this Day 1.5)
We are men under a system where laws are written in our very being. Thus nocturnal animals also can survive while we make the most of the daylight. Nature is for all; and wisdom and power of man and every living thing is drawn under its sovereignty.
Do we need to ask who has tagged the earth? I began with an anecdote from China and I shall end this post from another. Girls who are ready for marriage in China will attest to the fact by sewing mandarin ducks on their shoes and venerating Old Man on the Moon. Some may similarly entertain a God sitting somewhere up there spinning laws for each man. It is some thought! No wonder why some men here think he is above laws of men. Such lawless men are still under laws of Nature. For me God works with laws of Nature where wisdom and power of man when collectively taken does as effectively as though He was behind the interaction.
He is Wisdom and Power apart while we exercise wisdom and power in harmony with our nature. Laws of Nature and nature of man must trade off. No other way.

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