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Speech is a tantalizing mode of human communication. On the one hand, humans understand speech with ease and use speech to express complex ideas, information, and knowledge. On the other hand, automatic speech recognition with computers is very hard, and extracting knowledge from speech is even harder. Nevertheless, the potential reward for solving this problem drives us to pursue it. Before we can exploit speech as a knowledge resource, however, we must understand the current state of the art in speech recognition and the relevant, successful applications of speech recognition in the related areas of multimedia indexing and search. In this paper we advocate the study of speech as a knowledge resource, provide a brief introduction to the state of the art in speech recognition, describe a number of systems that use speech recognition to enable multimedia analysis, indexing, and search, and present a number of exploratory applications of speech recognition that move toward the goal of exploiting speech as a knowledge resource.
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