A blackboard system incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) to help a computer recognize sounds or images. The incoming signal is digitized using an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The digital data is input to a read/write memory circuit called the blackboard. Then the digital data is evaluated by various specialty programs. The overall scheme is depicted in the diagram.

For speech recognition, specialties include vowel sounds, consonant sounds, grammar, syntax, context, and other variables. For example, a context specialty program might determine whether a speaker means to say “weigh” or “way,” or “two,” “too,” or “to.” Another program lets the controller know when a sentence is finished and the next sentence is to begin. Another program can tell the difference between a statement and a question. Using the blackboard as their forum, the specialty circuits “debate” the most likely and logical interpretations of what is heard or seen. A “referee” called a focus specialist mediates.

For object recognition, specialties might be shape, color, size, texture, height,width, depth, and other visual cues.How does a computer know if an object is a cup on a table, or a water tower a mile away? Is that a bright lamp, or is it the sun? Is that biped thing a robot, a mannequin, or a person? As with speech recognition, the blackboard serves as a debating ground.

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