SimEverything

The Portly Politico

Summer Break is approaching, which means unstructured time, our most precious resource.  I plan on using that time to work on some long-delayed eBooks—including one on Christmas carols—and to teach my History of Conservative Thought course.  I’m also hoping to rebuild my music lesson empire after The Virus sacked the imperial capital.  There will also be lot of family time built in.

In addition to all of those wholesome and productive activities, there is also the siren song of video games.  Video games can become a major time sink (I’m learning that with Stellaris), but they’re a good way to unwind, and require a bit more focus and decision-making than passively consuming television.

One of the major video games meta-series of my youth were the various Sim games from Maxis—SimCitySimEarthSimAnt, etc. (I had a particular fondness for the scope and…

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AI Transcription Smack-Down: The Latest Round

After the massive media brouhaha over Rev.com lower its already skimpy payouts for transcriptionists, the company has announced its first rate increase since its founding 10 years ago: https://www.businessinsider.com/rev-petition-to-ceo-jason-chicola-demands-he-raise-wages-2019-11?r=US&IR=T?utm_source=copy-link&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=topbar.

But as someone who’s spent the last couple of years training our new robot overlords, I can point you to the bigger picture behind all this: AI-driven voice recognition systems are getting so good that’s it’s tough for mere mortals to compete. In fact Rev’s own Temi.com unit charges roughly 1/12 the rate for human-typed transcription: just 10 cents a minute versus $1.25 for Rev (which is still quite low by traditional industry standards).

Even Rev itself has been shifting to the editing model, which hands off computer-generated text to humans to clean up. But if you produce clear, easy to hear content, why would you pay 12 times more for humans to work on it all? What remains for the contractors is increasingly often almost indecipherable audio. So it doesn’t matter how you slice it, the cheese is moving.