Google’s AI finds its voice … and it’s surprisingly human

Talk like a robot? I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can do that Google has figured out how to use artificial intelligence to make robot sounds more human, according to a new paper. Using its “WaveNet” model, Google’s AI company in the UK, DeepMind, claims to have created a natural machine-to-human speech that halves “the gap with human performance.” Machine babble often sounds emotionally flat and robotic because it’s difficult to capture the natural nuances of human speech. Many systems are still based on a method called “concatenative text-to-speech” (TTS), which sounds out words by stringing together a large collection of phonetic sounds. Researchers have managed to improve speech synthesis a bit by using “parametric text-to-speech,” which uses a vocoder – a device that employs a set of algorithms to…


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