Microsoft will seek consent before processing voice recordings for AI

Microsoft says that users have to actively opt-in, after which their recordings will be processed by either Microsoft employees or people contracted to work for the company for transcription or to improve their AI systems.
By HT TECH
| Updated on Jan 19 2021, 11:08 PM IST
Microsoft stated that customers would be able to opt in to have recordings of their voice analysed by employees at the company
Microsoft stated that customers would be able to opt in to have recordings of their voice analysed by employees at the company (REUTERS)

Microsoft recently announced that it has rolled out updates to its policies in connection with the processing of user’s voice data, which it would use in order to improve its products - in order to give users more choice, the company said.

In a detailed post on the company’s AI blog, Microsoft stated that customers would be able to opt in to have recordings of their voice analysed by employees at the company which it uses to improve AI systems across diverse people, speaking styles, accents, dialects and acoustic environments, making them sound more natural and easy to interact with.

It is important to note that users who do opt-out will still have their transcriptions automatically generated by the company’s systems.
It is important to note that users who do opt-out will still have their transcriptions automatically generated by the company’s systems. (Microsoft)

Microsoft says that the company has set up the new process in such a way that users have to actively opt-in, after which their recordings will be processed by either Microsoft employees or people contracted to work for the company for transcription or to improve their AI systems.

Also read: Microsoft to end support for Cortana apps next year

“This new meaningful consent release is about making sure that we’re transparent with users about how we are using this audio data to improve our speech recognition technology,” Neeta Saran, a senior attorney at Microsoft said. The company will also roll out settings over the next few months for voice clips on products like Microsoft Translator, SwiftKey, Windows, Cortana, HoloLens, Mixed Reality and Skype voice translation.

It is important to note that users who do opt-out will still have their transcriptions automatically generated by the company’s systems. However, the actual voice recordings will never be heard or transcribed by another human, the company stated, adding that it did not use any human reviewers to listen to audio data collected from speech recognition features built into its enterprise offerings.

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First Published Date: 19 Jan, 11:08 PM IST
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