IBM's I'm-Sorry-Dave-I'm-Afraid-I-Can't-Do-That Patent

from the a-patent-odyssey dept

theodp writes "Astronaut Dave Bowman may have found the HAL-9000 more believable had the Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer been equipped with the technology described in IBM's new patent for Generating paralinguistic phenomena via markup in text-to-speech synthesis. In the patent, IBM describes how you can dupe others into believing they're dealing with a real, live human being by using markup language to feign sadness, anger, laughter, filled pauses (uh, um), breaths, coughs and hesitations (mmm). Here's an example that shows how to make a more lovable HAL: <prosody style="bad news">I'm cough sorry Dave sigh, I'm afraid I can't do that.<prosody>"


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    I'm so horny, I'm so horny, me love you long time."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Re:

    well that didnt work right

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Sorry Dave

    the Hal 9000 series has never had an operational error...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    fspinol0, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 7:08pm

    Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to feign human conversational idiosyncrasies. Call that job satisfaction? Cos I dont...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Jan 6th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

    A Patent?!

    *sigh*

    I've been doing this for many years (in one form or another since the 80's). I call prior art.

    Just more proof that you can patent anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    Win.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Erik Moore, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 9:04pm

    IBM Patents a long tradition

    IBM should not be allowed to patent something like emotional markups for speech. Linguists, playwrights, and novelists have been using this method for a very long time in order to imbue emotional context and indicate pragmatics in text. Creating an XML mark up set that indicates mood should not be an exclusive right or patentatable. They would be better off pursuing copyright for some set of this that they might make uniquely. But indicating emotion, mood, and speech with meta-text markers is riding on many other people's work who should have derivative rights on their own work. Large companies of late, particularly those in genetics and information have attempted to obtain unfair market advatage over openly available intellectual property by claiming unfair ownership. This is just one in a long and black list.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 10:33pm

    Clarke already said that HAL was not intended to represent IBM so i think we have nothing to worry about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Mr Big Content, Jan 6th, 2009 @ 10:49pm

    Re: IBM Patents a long tradition

    Erik Moore sayeth:

    IBM should not be allowed to patent something like emotional markups for speech. Linguists, playwrights, and novelists have been using this method for a very long time in order to imbue emotional context and indicate pragmatics in text.

    Yes, but they haven't been doing it according to the method and system for doing it as described in the patent, wherein the first claim precedes the second claim which is followed by the third claim, all carefully laid out in exacting detail. The patent is for a completely new way of doing things, not like the traditional old way at all. All those who have traditionally been doing it all along had better watch out: they may be infringing on this patent!

    To those people advocating interfering in the patent process, I say: if you don't allow patents like this, then why should inventors continue to think up such ideas? It takes real genius to come up with genuinely new ideas worth patenting. Then to discover that other people have been doing the same thing--that just goes to show how the important the idea was in the first place, that everybody can't help themselves but be infringing the patent all along. That shows how important patents are to the economy!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re: IBM Patents a long tradition

    Mr. Big Content:

    Actually, linguists, playwrights and novelists would not be infringing. Read the claims and you will understand why.

    I also note that Leapfrog v. Fisher-Price was not considered when the claims were examined. Essentially, the computer was programmed to do what had previous been done by humans in person and on recorded media, and by authors in text. It seems like merely adapting what had been done previously in print and by humans to a new technology was exactly the teaching of Leapfrog.

    Similarly, since feigning of emotion is a mental process and does not create a "transformation," these claims also seem to be covered by Bilski. However, the claims were allowed before Bilski was decided, so Bilski would not have been a factor during prosecution, but surely would in any court case.

    I also think the examiner gave up a little too quickly after IBM responded to the one and only office action in this case.

    If I was an investor and patents could be invested in, I would not be investing in this one. I think it is imminently challengeable. Of course, IBM could also have filed for this one as a defensive patent rather than an offensive patent, and they may allow the patent to expire when the three and a half year maintenance fee comes due.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Newb, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    I need patent how to vigorously masturbate!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    vmd, Jan 7th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    <prosody style="battery_low">Daisy Daisy,
    Give me your answer do!
    I'm half crazy,
    All for the love of you!
    It won't be a stylish marriage,
    I can't afford a carriage,
    But you'll look sweet on the seat
    Of a bicycle built for two...</prosody>

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 9th, 2009 @ 1:56pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This