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CNN suspends journalist for her tweet in support of Syrian refugees

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Washington: CNN has suspended its global affairs correspondent Elise Labott for two weeks after she expressed her displeasure on Twitter about the US House of Representatives voting on a bill that would make it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the US.

Her tweet garnered over 5,000 tweets and about 7,000 likes. She was suspended on the same day.

The US House lawmakers voted Thursday to halt a program aimed at resettling thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing their homeland that is facing a civil war and battle between the ISIS and other world powers, including Russia and the United States.

“In light of the Paris attacks, we are certainly mindful that there are certain members of Congress that want to take another look at this,” State spokesman John Kirby said, adding, “We’re aware of some potential legislation coming. We’re going to continue to work with members of Congress on that, and any other concern they have.”

After Labott drew flak on Twitter for her comments, she apologized for her “inappropriate and disrespectful tweet”.

While the journalist received support, she was also criticized for her tweet and also for apologizing for expressing her opinion, as the US Constitution allows her to do so.

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Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice

The AI system slices each word read out by an individual into 100 tiny pieces

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Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice
Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice, Pixabay

A US radio journalist who had lost his voice two years ago due to a rare neurological condition has regained the ability to speak, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the media reported.

Jamie Dupree, 54, a political radio journalist with Cox Media Group, got a new voice that trained a neural network to predict how he would talk, using samples from his old voice recordings, the BBC reported.

With his new voice, Dupree can now write a script and then use a free text-to-speech software programme called Balabolka on his laptop to turn it into an audio recording.

If a word or turn of phrase does not sound quite right in the recording, he can slow certain consonants or vowels down, or swap a word to one that does work, or change the pitch, and he can have a full radio story ready to go live in just seven minutes.

“This has saved my job and saved my family from a terrible financial unknown,” Dupree was quoted as saying to the BBC.

In 2016, Dupree was diagnosed with tongue protrusion dystonia — a rare neurological condition where the tongue pushes forward out of his mouth and his throat tightens whenever he wants to speak, making it impossible for him to say more than two or three words at a time.

artificial intelligence, brain
artificial intelligence, brain, Pixabay

Thanks to the new computer-generated voice, created for him by Scottish technology company CereProc, Dupree is set to come back on air, the report said.

The AI system slices each word read out by an individual into 100 tiny pieces, and does this with lots of common words until eventually it understands how basic phonetics work in that person’s voice and has an ordered sequence for all the pieces in each word.

Then, the neural network can create its own sounds and predict what the person would sound like if they were to say a series of words in conversation.

Also read: This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

“AI techniques work quite well on small constrained problems, and learning to model speech is something deep neural nets can do really well,” Chris Pidcock, CereProc’s chief technical officer and co-founder, told the BBC. (IANS)