Who's the worst speaker in Washington? You may think the answer is self-evident, but an artificial-intelligence company has a different take.
Trint, a company that uses AI software to transcribe audio, recently studied which prominent politicians are easiest for its AI bots to understand. The company pitted 15 prominent politicians against each other, including President Trump, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, former President Barack Obama, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Selina Meyer of HBO's "Veep," a.k.a. actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The company fed audio recordings of their speeches into its transcription software, and the results were analyzed by Word Error Rate (WER), a standard used for measuring the accuracy of speech recognition. (For example, a WER of 10 is 10 percent inaccurate or 90 percent correct.)
The most intelligible politician was Nikki Haley, Trint found, with an accuracy rating of 99.48 percent. Clinton was second, with rating of 99.38 percent, while Selina Meyer came in fourth, scoring 98.74 percent. Notable accents had split results: Cruz's Texas drawl put him in 13th while, despite his native New York-ese, Chuck Schumer came in third with 99.35 percent, almost even with Clinton.
Although they're diametrically opposed ideologically, Trump and Pelosi's similar speech patterns — a tendency to swallow their words — found them cuddling up in the rankings. Trump rated 11th at 97.89 percent. “Due to his slow and measured way of speaking, President Trump has a far lower total word count than usual for a politician; 380 for this sample, where the average across all speakers is 486,” said Trint CEO Jeff Kofman. “Additionally, he has a tendency to swallow some of the prefixes and suffixes of his words; for example, the word ‘incredible’ in the phrase ‘That's something. And I'm honored by your incredible support and grateful for your commitment to our shared cause’ was rendered as ‘credible.'"
Pelosi came in last among the 15 politicians, with a 96.01 percent accuracy. “Even though Trump and Pelosi ranked lower than others they still come out really well in these samples for the Trint Index," said Kofman. "Human transcription doesn't do much better than that."