This is a response to Vol 16 Paul 10 ("Interesting")...
I'm glad to hear your taking my side, even with some reservations. The points you raised were of concern to me also, and Roger and I argued over them at some length, but I believe I can still prevail.
The point about 1990 dollars is probably a minor one, but then the world is an unpredictable place, and if we go to war with Iraq or for some other reason start a decade-long bout of inflation, $5000 might not be worth nearly as much in the year 2000 as it is now. And I'd hate to lose due to factors that have nothing to do with the essential technological issue.
As for your other two points, I decided to be generous and hold the dictation machine to a higher than human standard. That is, the machine should perform even better than the average human being. Of course no machine could ever understand certain bizarre cases, like an Iranian with a cleft palate speaking in tongues with a mouth full of marbles twenty feet underwater, but this is a wager between gentlemen and I trust Roger not to be TOO unreasonable.
In case he is not, the contract provides for a panel of three judges who will enforce the phrase "reasonable conditions" and the definition of the speaker which specifically excludes speech impediments. Although my conditions were quite generous, I expect that the machine will perform so well that even Roger will be forced to concede.