Google DeepMind AI achieves near-human level speech capabilities

DeepMind, the Google artificial intelligence division behind the champion-defeating AlphaGo bot, has revealed that it’s managed to create some of the most realistic, human level speech ever achieved from a machine. Called WaveNet, the new AI is said to act as a deep neural network that’s capable of generating speech by sampling real human speech and forming raw audio waveforms. Testing among English and Mandarin Chinese listeners has found that WaveNet is already better than existing text-to-speech systems, but still just short of being as convincing as a real human’s speech. Current text-to-speech programs work in one of two ways; the first is a human-sounding voice that speaks via recordings of actual speech that have been broken up into tiny pieces and rearranged — a bit like a ransom letter.…


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