Eran's Blog

Web Browsers Overhear Us

Overhear is an electronic poetry toy by Tusia Dabrowska and Eran Hadas. The user just says something to the microphone of his computer. Anything. The web browser listens to it, and as it can only sense sound waves, it has to guess what words it has heard. Usually in such cases, we are presented only with the result that was given the best score by the matching algorithm, but in Overhear up to ten results are given, forming a poem.


It is an attempt to look under the hood of voice recognition, in order to expose some of the artificial nature of the algorithmic process of understanding. It is also a glance into the translation or decoding of signals, how web browsers, just like humans, need to work in various levels or layers to make meaning out of sound.


[In this example, I just said some Hebrew nonsense, “our life is strawberries”, that would sound something like “hachaim shelanoo tootim”]


Technically, Overhear is  just a minor tweak to annayang by Tal Ater.
Conceptually it is based on the fact that foreign accents produce better results.


[In this example, I asked “what should I say”, utilizing my Hebrew accent]


Please go ahead, and grant permission to your browser to Overhear you.