It’s getting tougher to tell if you’re on the phone with a machine or human

If you want to talk about something important or sensitive, odds are that conversation will happen over the phone rather than email or text. The sound of someone’s voice is an important part of trusting them—but the ability to trust the voice on the other end of that call is human might change. Google DeepMind announced a new speech generation method it calls WaveNet, which could bring artificial intelligence closer than ever to indiscernibly mimicking human speech. The algorithm can easily learn different voices and even generates artificial breaths, according to a DeepMind blog post. DeepMind, the London-based AI firm acquired by Google in 2014, broadly works to “solve intelligence,” a goal that spans health, data center energy efficiency, and ancient Chinese board games. Building audio from scratch is difficult…


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