There is no question that you have likely heard the classic song mix-ups by happy, singing folks out there. For example, how many people listening to Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze,” hear “I kiss this guy,” rather than “I kiss the sky?”
While these are fun, it is something that is expected; after all, we are all just human, right?
However, what happens when you put a man against a machine, in unknown, commonly misheard song lyrics? A recent study puts two professional transcriptionists up against Watson, the IBM super computer, to listen and transcribe these lyrics, hoping to get a few confused lines out of the project.
What happened, you may be wondering?
The transcriptionists performed with flying colors, having each of the songs they listened converted into texts. Keep in mind, prior to the experiment, they swore they had never before heard these songs, putting them in the same boat as Watson, after all, that is only fair.
However, surprisingly, Watson did not perform as well, making a few confused lyrics that were more weird than funny.
One example was the song “Ticks” sung by country music star Brad Paisley. Watson heard the word “your lips” as “live in peace,” and “your beer” as “be here.” The transcriptionist got this right – perfectly right.
Another example of the issues that Watson had during the experiment was with “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift. Instead of “I was in your sights,” Watson heard, “I was then you say,” and rather than “You got me alone,” Watson heard, “You got me a loon.”
So, now you may be wondering what exactly this proves? That Watson is not as “smart” as everyone thinks? Not exactly.
In fact, this little experiment has shown the unique way that the human brain works. Even in people who have never heard the music or songs, they are able to logically conclude what would come next. This made their transcription efforts flawless.
When it comes to music, it is a unique experience every time. Even people who would not consider themselves “music fans” can still figure out a number of song lyrics easily thanks to the ability to reason through the rhyming patterns, sounds and other unique aspects of music.
While Watson may be the perfect partner for binary code issues, figuring out complex equations and other complex operations, the human brain is definitely crowned the winner in the “battle of the lyrics.”