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Can Watson’s Music Knowledge Hold a Candle to A Professional Transcriptionist?

One of the world’s smartest computers, IBM’s “Watson was literally created in order to answer an array of  Jeopardy – like questions. However, that has nothing to do with song lyrics. No matter how much one loves music, we are all subject to these lyrical faux pas (also known as mondegreens). One of the most difficult realms to achieve 100% accuracy in, one must wonder how his “listening” skills would stack up against a live person who is actually paid to transcribe. Well, wonder no more! The following is an overview of Watson vs. the transcriptionist. Utilizing the first line from some popular artists across an array of genres, Watson and the transcriptionists were made to proverbially put their music where their mouths are…

Putting the to the Test…

By selecting a variety of lesser known songs, Watson, and a number of living, breathing transcriptionists were put to the test. Using lyrics from the likes of Taylor Swift, Van Halen, and others, the question can finally be answered, who is better at understanding lyrical content: people or computers?

Lyrics Challenge 1: Taylor Swift

Using her song “I Knew You Were Trouble”, the first round definitely goes to the transcriptionist. While Watson made a valiant effort and only made missed 4 words and made 6 errors, the transcriptionist came out swinging and made zero errors overall.

Lyrics Challenge 2: Van Halen

Using their song entitled “Runnin’ With The Devil”, each of the participants did fairly well in this round. Well, not really. Watson once again stunk up the place by making 9 errors and missing a whopping 15 words. On the other hand, the transcriptionist did an excellent job with once again zero errors recorded.

Lyrics Challenge 3: Elton John

Yet another epic round, this time the participants utilized Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”. A much better round for Watson, this time he got only 8 errors and missed only 3 words. However, on the flip side, the transcriptionists still rocked the round and secured yet another victory with zero errors.

Lyrics Challenge 4: Brad Paisley

Lastly, using the song “Ticks” by Brad Paisley, each of the contenders gave their best effort to finish strong. On the one hand, Watson did a decent job. This round he missed only 5 words and made 12 errors. Nevertheless, the transcriptionists once again outshined the computer with a total of zero errors!

Overall, although Watson is certainly an intelligent and capable computer, he’s certainly not the one to go to for help with song lyrics. In other words, if you need help discerning between some spoken words, transcriptionists are your best bet!

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