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Just as most smartphone cameras now allow users to focus on a single object among many, it may soon be possible to pick out individual voices in a crowd by suppressing all other sounds, thanks to a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) system developed by Google researchers.
This is an important development as computers as not as good as humans at focusing their attention on a particular person in a noisy environment. Known as the cocktail party effect, the capability to mentally “mute” all other voices and sounds comes natural to us humans.
However, automatic speech separation — separating an audio signal into its individual speech sources — remains a significant challenge for computers, Inbar Mosseri and Oran Lang, software engineers at Google Research, wrote in a blog post this week. In a new paper, the researchers presented a deep learning audio-visual model for isolating a single speech signal from a mixture of sounds such as other voices and background noise.
“In this work, we are able to computationally produce videos in which speech of specific people is enhanced while all other sounds are suppressed,” Mosseri and Lang said. The method works on ordinary videos with a single audio track, and all that is required from the user is to select the face of the person in the video they want to hear, or to have such a person be selected algorithmically based on context.
The researchers believe this capability can have a wide range of applications, from speech enhancement and recognition in videos, through video conferencing, to improved hearing aids, especially in situations where there are multiple people speaking. “A unique aspect of our technique is in combining both the auditory and visual signals of an input video to separate the speech,” the researchers said.
“Intuitively, movements of a person’s mouth, for example, should correlate with the sounds produced as that person is speaking, which in turn can help identify which parts of the audio correspond to that person,” they explained.
The visual signal not only improves the speech separation quality significantly in cases of mixed speech, but, importantly, it also associates the separated, clean speech tracks with the visible speakers in the video, the researchers said. IANS
The 'Millennial Mood Index 2021' (MMI) was released by CASHe, India's AI-driven financial wellness platform with a mission to make financial inclusion possible for all. According to the survey, more than 84 per cent of millennials across the country have increased their wealth-management strategy to prepare for future contingencies while also looking for opportunities for stronger and more sustainable growth in the post-pandemic world. The pan-India survey, conducted among more than 30k customers on CASHe's platform, aimed to capture the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has altered millennials' everyday behaviour across a variety of topics such as health, travel, shopping, savings & credit appetite, and so on.
While the majority of millennials have become more cautious about their finances as a result of the pandemic, the report also highlighted the cohort's progress in saving and insurance awareness. While 52 per cent of respondents said they have increased their savings, 35 per cent have purchased comprehensive health and life insurance plans, and the remaining 13 per cent have committed to more extensive investment programmes.
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. | Pixabay
The pandemic, combined with the 'work from home' culture, has also raised health awareness among Indian millennials. According to the MMI report, more than 71 per cent of millennials have become more health conscious as a result of the pandemic. In their quest for a healthier life, a sizable portion of the cohort has adopted new lifestyle changes. 54 percent of respondents said they now prefer eating home-cooked healthy food, and 28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. 11 per cent of respondents said they had started practicing yoga and meditation, while the remaining 7 per cent had signed up for a nearby gym.
When asked if they eat out at restaurants, more than 52 per cent said that even if they eat outside, they would prefer restaurants that adhere to health, safety, and social distancing norms. 22 per cent have become accustomed to ordering food online and prefer doing so because they can do so from the comfort of their own home while adhering to the necessary safety standards. Whereas 26 per cent of respondents remain cautious and avoid eating outside at all costs.
Following nearly two years of uncertainty and a travel ban, the report revealed a huge pent-up demand among millennials for a getaway vacation. More than 56 percent of those polled said they intend to take a vacation early this year, once the current surge in Covid-19 cases subsides. In terms of travel destination preferences, 71 per cent said they were going somewhere domestic, 9 per cent said they were going somewhere international, and 20 percent said they hadn't decided yet.
28 percent have adapted to daily walks or some form of exercise. | Unsplash
The report stated that 38 per cent of respondents have permanently shifted to shopping online as they now prefer it, demonstrating a clear shift in millennial shopping behavior altered by the pandemic. While 17 per cent preferred physical shopping, 45 per cent preferred a combination of the two depending on what they wanted to buy.
When asked about returning to work in the post-pandemic order, 68 per cent of respondents said they are eager to return to the physical world and work from their offices. While 15 percent preferred to continue working from home (WFH), the remaining 17 per cent preferred a hybrid model of functioning that included visiting the office once or twice a week.
V Raman Kumar, Founder Chairman, CASHe said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has radically altered our everyday behavior, perhaps forever. However despite the challenges and economic upheavals witnessed in the last two years, millennials have proven themselves as the most resilient generation. Millennials who also represent the country's largest workforce have showcased the grit and resolve to bounce back and kick-start the economy. Their unwavering "can do" spirit is what has put them at the global centre stage while showcasing India as the largest millennial market to lure in brands across the globe. They are not just aspirational, but are a very responsible cohort seeking to reimagine old orders. Millennials have the potential to redefine India's investment & consumption story, which will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era."
Millennials will play a critical role in shaping our country's economy in the post-pandemic era. | Unsplash
The pan-India survey was conducted by CASHe among more than 30k customers. More than 65 per cent of the responses were received from the metro markets of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Chennai while the rest 35% were received from other tier-II and III towns. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : millennial, mood, index, survey, country, India, finance, pandemic, investment, health, lifestyle, vacation, challenges, resilient, generation, customers.)
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A renowned Harvard Business School professor delivers a persuasive reconsideration and defence of purpose as a management ethos, demonstrating the enormous performance advantages and societal benefits that can be realised when businesses get their purpose right.
Too many businesses use purpose, or a reason for existing, as a marketing tool to make themselves feel good and appear good to the public.
Some people have only hazy notions of what purpose is, conflating it with strategy and other concepts like as "goal," "vision," and "values." Even the most well-intentioned leaders are unaware of the full power of purpose and interact with it only half-heartedly and superficially. Outsiders see this and become sceptical about businesses and the capitalist enterprise as a whole.
Ranjay Gulati shows the catastrophic blunders leaders unintentionally make while seeking to create a purpose for being, based on significant field study. Furthermore, he demonstrates how businesses might further incorporate purpose than they now do, resulting in tremendous performance gains for consumers, suppliers, workers, shareholders, and communities alike.
Also read: Underrated Business Tips And Tricks by Eric
Organizations are being updated to create more autonomy and cooperation, allowing individual employees to work more meaningfully.
* Creating a community of inspired and committed stakeholders by employing strong narrative to express a purpose for being, arouse emotions, and develop a community of inspired and committed stakeholders; and
* Creating cultures that not only promote purpose, but also allow people to connect the company's mission to their own personal motivations.
As Gulati says, a stronger connection to purpose is the key not only to individual firms' success, but also to humanity's destiny. Purpose may serve as a completely new operating system for the organisation, boosting performance while also bringing real benefits to society, especially in light of capitalism's undermining and low levels of confidence in business.
(keywords: hi-performance companies, catastrophic blunders, "goal," "vision," and "values)
In India, on January 26, 2022, thousands of youngsters set fire to empty train carriages. They disrupted rail traffic in order to protest what they claim are irregularities in recruiting by the railway department, which is one of the world's major employers. (VOA/ MBI)
(Keywords: India, recruitment, bihar, train, burnt, job, employers, railway)