It had to happen. Given the Chinese demands on companies doing business in mainland China, someone was going to come up with automatic censorship. And now it appears that the great unwashed god of computers is heading in with all guns blazing:
On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Microsoft a patent for the Automatic Censorship of Audio Data for Broadcast, an invention that addresses 'producing censored speech that has been altered so that undesired words or phrases are either unintelligible or inaudible.' (From slashdot )
The patent discusses several options, from replacing the offensive words with less offensive ones to replacing the undesired word with a tone or blocking it completely. You always heard the rumors that that Microsoft was "Big Brother", but now you have the automated "Big Brother" direct from the the computer.
It will be interesting to see what impact this development will have on talk radio, etc. Will it eliminate the delay loop in favor of a rather lengthy dictionary of offensive terms? Will the FCC have to get involved to allow its use? Am I just insane?