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    Test of Character: A Stenographer’s AI Fears

    China is a world leader in artificial intelligence research, including in the field of transcription. As these new technologies enter the market, will the country’s stenographers be out of a job?

    Editor’s note: In a way, Hong Hong and Wang Qingran do the same job: Turning speech into text. But Hong is an experienced stenographer, while Wang is an artificial intelligence researcher who works on speech recognition.

    In some ways, Hong’s job seems imperiled by Wang’s. She will spend an entire morning attending high-level conferences to transcribe everything that is said in real-time. He can lean back while sipping a milk tea as his software goes through hours of speeches in mere minutes.

    But in other ways, Hong seems irreplaceable. She will carefully edit out broken sentences while dignitaries are speaking, and has studiously refreshed herself on any rare words that are likely to come up to avoid mistakes. Wang’s software faithfully records every utterance, sometimes resulting in unreadable passages, and will stumble on some jargon.

    Wang thinks artificial intelligence will never fully replace humans. But Hong is nevertheless anxious about losing her career to AI, which is bound to keep improving.

    Editors: Zhou Yuyang and Kevin Schoenmakers.

    (Header image: DxChannel)