German officials are planning to use speech recognition technology to help identify the countries of origin of the many migrants applying for refugee status.
The Federal Migration Office (BAMF) already employs linguists covering a range of languages, but as of the start of the year faced a backlog of 430,000 refugee applications as the country has been overwhelmed by the migration crisis. As such the technology could provided some timely assistance.
It won’t have the opportunity to make a large, immediate impact, however. Trials of the technology are set to start in two weeks, and a large-scale deployment isn’t expected until next year.
Speech recognition technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, primarily driven by the consumer device market; but the BAMF project demonstrates its versatility in applications. It also points to the issue of government documentation and the lack thereof, with International Business Times reporting that 60 percent of the refugees to Germany over the past year arrived with needed identity papers; some organizations, like the UNHCR, are starting to explore how other biometric technologies can be used to help ameliorate this situation.
Source: International Business Times, Deutsche Wells, BBC News
March 20, 2017 – by Alex Perala