If HAL 9000 were Alexa

If you’re a fan of sci-fi movies, the name HAL 9000 is likely familiar. Developed long before Siri or Alexa, HAL 9000 is the artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the Discovery One spaceship in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  That got us thinking about if HAL 9000 were Alexa, what would it be like? We took our search to YouTube and found this video that gave us a chuckle:

Open the pod bay doors, Alexa.

Alexa: Searching for cod recipes online.

The video continues through a series of misheard commands that would undoubtedly lead the spaceship to unintended places. If you’ve tried to use Alexa, you likely had some of these moments yourself!

What does HAL 9000 have to do with court reporting?

For years we’ve been hearing about how speech recognition software like For the Record may replace the verbatim court reporter but these claims ignore important aspects of the role of Phoenix court reporters.

The claims ignore that trial and deposition testimony is filled with unique challenges that speech recognition cannot overcome like people talking over or interrupting each other or low talkers (remember that Seinfeld episode?).  If we utilize speech recognition technology in conversations or meetings where people frequently interrupt each other or talk over one another, such as in a deposition, it’s likely to be a poor recording that is challenging for a court reporter to transcribe.

The problem with digital recordings is that they aren?t done by humans.

Variations in the pronunciation of words, unwanted ambient noises, homonyms, as well individual dialects and accents create challenges for a machine that is simply recording. “There” and “their,” “air” and “heir,” “be” and “bee” are all examples. There is no way for a speech recognition program to tell the difference between these words based on sound alone.

This software also faces other problems with the type of hardware used to input the sound, as the results can have a huge impact in how the software will interpret the speech.

The idea of replacing a sworn officer of the court who is also witnessing and recording each of these nuances leaves keeping of the official record vulnerable and open to inaccuracy. In spite of challenges in our industry including a court reporter shortage, the Certified Professional Court Reporter remains the gold standard for producing a real-time verbatim record.

If you’re in need of a court reporter for an upcoming deposition, contact Herder and Associates today!

This press release was originally published here.


Herder & Associates Court Reporters are pleased to announce the relocation and expansion of their Phoenix headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center, Two North Central, Suite 1800, Phoenix, Arizona, 85004. They are poised for growth as they join many of Arizona’s elite law firms.

Bigger, stronger, and faster are our growth goals, says founder Marty Herder.  “With five offices throughout Arizona, the decision to expand our headquarters in the Phoenix area was a logical step in our business strategy. This move increases our ability to serve current and future clients across the state and country.”

The investment in expansion reinforces Herder’s 40-year roots in Phoenix and provides the leader in Southwest court reporting firms the technology and manpower necessary to support continuous growth in an evolving market. Herder & Associates is the turnkey reporting firm for Arizona depositions in an inspiring and energizing environment.

Located in the heart of Phoenix’s central business district, One Renaissance Tower is in the heart of downtown.

Its exclusive location offers the best access to government buildings, Arizona State University downtown campus, and professional sports and entertainment venues. Fine hotels and the Metro Light Rail Station are nearby making it easily accessible to clients and exciting for the team to explore downtown Phoenix shopping, restaurants, arts, and theatre including CityScape which is just across the street, or take in a Suns basketball game or Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

Herder & Associates is a leader in the court reporting industry. The firm offers state-of-the-art, certified professional court reporters for every aspect of litigation, hearing, arbitration testimony, with a diverse range of clients. State of Arizona and federally-approved contract vendor, with an excellent reputation for integrity and professionalism in both the reporting and legal industry.

Superior cost-containment with personalized professional service. Full-spectrum elite national experience providing tailor-made service for your litigation. Specialties include large complex civil litigation requiring full commitment and organization during discovery of an elite team of experienced professional reporters. Visit www.CourtReportersAZ.com.

Moving Your Phoenix Law Firm

With the New Year comes new decisions like moving your Phoenix law firm. At Herder and Associates, we’re set to move our headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center in central Phoenix as we grow our court reporting firm. The move increases our ability to serve current and future clients in Arizona and across the nation. Relocating is exciting but it also comes with decisions and planning.

Why are you moving your Phoenix law firm?

Whether it’s to move out of your home office into executive suites, add people to your legal team, or to grab space at a prestigious location, there are considerations to be made. If you’re moving simply to be in the new development, we caution you to look at the complete picture before signing a new lease. Consider the following:

  • What’s the cost to get out of your current lease? It could be cost prohibitive to leave your current location if you have to break a lease.
  • What’s the cost per square foot at the current location versus the new location? Brand new offices tend to have a higher per square foot cost than older buildings.
  • Why do you want to leave your current location? If it’s because you want less walls and more open workspace, think about renovating instead of moving. It may cost less and get you the same results.

It’s grand to think about having the corner office with a view of downtown but if your current office is suiting your needs, it might not be time to move. On the other hand, if your law firm is poised for expansion and has the resources to move, it may be worth it to have a new address and more space.

What’s the cost of moving?

The costs of moving aren’t as simple as packing boxes. In addition to the cost of breaking a lease that I mentioned earlier, there are costs like hiring professional movers and the design and build of the new office to fit the needs of your firm.

  • Office furniture – Are you going to move old furniture into your new office? Either way you’ll need to either get rid of it or move it. If you get rid of it, there’s the cost of purchasing new furniture.
  • Wiring for technology – The new space may need to be hardwired for internet, phones, and servers.
  • Data Security – Even if you don’t have someone full-time on staff, consider hiring an IT firm to act as Chief IT Officer for you law firm ensuring your client and case information is securely stored and safe from hackers.

As your Phoenix law firm expands, there will likely be additional cost considerations.

What’s your plan for moving?

If you’ve decided it’s time to move your firm, plan ahead to make sure moving day is as smooth as possible.

  • Hire professional movers. Ask their advice about what you pack, what they pack, and if the move needs to be over a series of days or weeks. The larger your firm, the more likely the move will need to be done in phases.
  • Assign a team member to coordinate the move. They can communicate with the movers as well as with the rest of the team to develop a timeline of what needs to be done and by whom.
  • Don’t move everything. Take stock of what you need to move, what can be placed in storage, and what can be thrown away or recycled. You may even be able to sell old office furniture though likely not for the same amount as what you paid for it.

With a fair amount of analysis and planning, we?re sure your move will be a good one!

For us, the investment in expansion reinforces our roots in Phoenix and enables us to serve our clients, delivering high quality transcripts accurately and on-time. Contact us today to schedule your next deposition.