Habitual readers may suspect already that I think software patents are a *bleeping* bad idea. Yeah, they are often filed by *bleeping* patent trolls, or are awarded to *bleeping* obvious "inventions" that do not advance the state of the art in any *bleeping* way.
Enter U.S. Patent 7,437,290 which describes a method for automatic censorship of audio data for broadcast. The abstract reads:
"An input audio data stream comprising speech is processed by an automatic censoring filter in either a real-time mode, or a batch mode, producing censored speech that has been altered so that undesired words or phrases are either unintelligible or inaudible. The automatic censoring filter employs a lattice comprising either phonemes and/or words derived from phonemes for comparison against corresponding phonemes or words included in undesired speech data. If the probability that a phoneme or word in the input audio data stream matches a corresponding phoneme or word in the undesired speech data is greater than a probability threshold, the input audio data stream is altered so that the undesired word or a phrase comprising a plurality of such words is unintelligible or inaudible. The censored speech can either be stored or made available to an audience in real-time."What the *bleep*? What sort of stupid *bleep* is that? How can Microsoft claim such *bleeping* idiocy?
Seriously though, I actually think this is a useful invention. Otherwise the above text would be rather colourful. Now I'm off to swear in the shower, the last refuge of the foul mouthed.