MIT boffins Zeynep Inanoglu and Ron Caneel have come up with a handy-sounding voicemail system, Sneak hears. By analysing volume, tone of voice and rate of speech, software is able to sort messages into categories that should help business people prioritise their time. Obviously a system that can say "You have one irate message from your boss, and eight pointless rambles from your mother" is more useful than one that says "You have nine messages that will sap your will to live". The current prototype hasn't got quite that far yet - according to a report in New Scientist, the software can currently spot happy, sad, excited and calm qualities, but has a bit of trouble telling the difference between formal and informal situations. But then that's common enough. Haven't we all turned up at a black-tie ambassador's reception wearing fancy dress made entirely from strategically-placed Ferrero Rocher wrappers? Or is that just Sneak...?
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