Google Labs has created GAUDI, Google Audio Indexing, a technology that “uses speech technology to find spoken words inside videos and lets the user jump to the right portion of the video.” At this stage it seems that they’re only indexing speeches by politicians, but the interesting thing is that Canadian politicians are among the bunch (no separation of Birch and States?) as you can see from this graphic of Jack Layton talking of “health.”
Try running a search for “harper” and enjoy the results.
Given that law is a verbal profession, this technology has the capacity to be really useful to lawyers in a number of contexts. Clearly, though, it’s not perfect yet — how could it be? — as you can see by the way GAUDI transcribed “mess” as “mass.”
I’m now going to check to see how it handles “aboot.”