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Google develops human-like text-to-speech AI

Google's engineers did not reveal much information but they left a big clue for developers to figure out how far they have come in developing this system.

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Google has collaborated with getty images. Wikimedia Commons
Google has collaborated with Getty images. Wikimedia Commons
  • Google is developing text-to-speech AI as an “AI First.”
  • It will also be able to mimic human voices.
  • Not much is revealed, but it can be sure to say that this could be a big success for Google.

In a major step towards its “AI first” dream, Google has developed a text-to-speech artificial intelligence (AI) system that will confuse you with its human-like articulation.

The tech giant’s text-to-speech system called “Tacotron 2” delivers an AI-generated computer speech that almost matches with the voice of humans, technology news website Inc.com reported.

At Google I/O 2017 developers conference, company’s Indian-origin CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the internet giant was shifting its focus from mobile-first to “AI first” and launched several products and features, including Google Lens, Smart Reply for Gmail and Google Assistant for iPhone.

Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai.

According to a paper published in arXiv.org, the system first creates a spectrogram of the text, a visual representation of how the speech should sound.

That image is put through Google’s existing WaveNet algorithm, which uses the image and brings AI closer than ever to in-discernibly mimicking human speech. The algorithm can easily learn different voices and even generates artificial breaths.

“Our model achieves a mean opinion score (MOS) of 4.53 comparable to a MOS of 4.58 for professionally recorded speech,” the researchers were quoted as saying.

On the basis of its audio samples, Google claimed that “Tacotron 2” can detect from context the difference between the noun “desert” and the verb “desert,” as well as the noun “present” and the verb “present,” and alter its pronunciation accordingly.

It can place emphasis on capitalised words and apply the proper inflection when asking a question rather than making a statement, the company said in the paper.

Meanwhile, Google’s engineers did not reveal much information but they left a big clue for developers to figure out how far they have come in developing this system.

According to the report, each of the ‘.wav’ file samples has a filename containing either the term “gen” or “gt.”

Based on the paper, it’s highly probable that “gen” indicates speech generated by Tacotron 2 and “gt” is real human speech. (“GT” likely stands for “ground truth,” a machine learning term that basically means “the real deal”.) IANS

Next Story

Tech Giant Google Ends Forced Arbitration For Employees Globally

Last November, over 20,000 employees staged a walkout at Google over forced arbitration

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Google, Main One, russia
A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

After facing intense protests over sexual misconduct and discrimination at workplace, Google has decided to end the forced arbitration policy for its employees.

According to a report in Axios on Thursday, the new policy will go into effect from March 21 for Google employees globally.

The decision will not open the door to bringing lawsuits over previously-settled claims, said Google.

“Employees with disputes currently in arbitration who are still employed by the company as of March 21 will be able to choose to sue instead,” it added.

Google employees the world over have called for the practice to end in other cases of harassment and discrimination.

Google
The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

“Google appears to be meeting that demand for employees — but the change will not apply in the same blanket way to the many contractors, vendors and temporary employees it uses,” said the report.

Forced arbitration agreements require employees to waive their rights to make a legal claim in court and instead go through a private system, said TechCrunch.

Google also said it would remove mandatory arbitration from legal agreements it reaches directly with its contract and temporary workforce.

Also Read- NIIT Technologies, Microsoft Partner to Drive Cloud-led Transformation

Last month, Google employees took to Twitter and Instagram to educate the public about forced arbitration

Last November, over 20,000 employees staged a walkout at Google over forced arbitration. (IANS)