That’s one smooth-talking robot: Google’s WaveNet AI program produces human-like speech

An A.I. with language capabilities like ‘Samantha’ may be just around the corner. (Photo via HerTheMovie.com) Text-to-speech technology isn’t great. I’ve always found the robotic drone of computerized voices a bit grating — a sentiment that came up on a recent episode of GeekWire Radio when I bashed my editor’s favorite reading app. That’s why Google’s new WaveNet audio generator feels like something of a breakthrough. The program, from Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence division, learns to mimic recordings of human speech. Other text-to-speech applications typically play snippets of human speech recordings or use computer-generated voices that have been programmed with language conventions. WaveNet generates a voice based on what it learns from human recordings, allowing it to adopt distinct cadences, male and female qualities, even breathing patterns. “We could provide additional…


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