Linkanalyst sent this particular slice of Onion genius around today:
In fact, the Macbook Wheel reminded me of this year’s Royal Institute Christmas Lectures (a fine institution that has been steadily slipping down the channels over the years, and which now resides on Five, alas). The last lecture dealt with the challenge faced by computers in recognising complex information – text, speech and so-on – that humans see very easily. You can watch it on Five’s demand service.
It piqued my interest partly because I’m a geek, and partly because I recently wrote a How it Works on handwriting recognition. At one point (24m 50s onwards), Rhod and I stared in wonder as Microsoft’s prof. Chris Bishop demonstrated Dasher, a predictive text application which it turns out has been around for a while.
It’s a useful input device for people who can’t use a keyboard, and a great way to visualise how predictive text and other pattern-matching processes such as handwriting recognition work.