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Karnataka BJP lawmaker sparks row with rape remark

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Bengaluru: Karnataka’s BJP lawmaker KS Eshwarappa on Saturday sparked a controversy with his remarks on rape incidents in the state. He later said his remarks had been taken out of context but expressed regret if he had hurt or offended anyone.

Replying to a query on why his Bharatiya Janata Party was silent on the heinous crime being perpetrated even on minor girls in the state, he asked a local news channel journalist what he could do if someone abducted and raped her.

“You are a woman and here now. If someone drags you and rapes you, what can we do as we (opposition people) would be somewhere else,” Eshwarappa retorted on the margins of an event at Ramanagara, about 50 km from here.

The former deputy chief minister in the BJP government is currently the leader of opposition in the legislative council.

Taking objection to Eshwarappa’s offensive remarks, television and print media journalists complained to the party’s leaders, including former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who decried and said the remark was not in good taste.

When a section of the outraged media complained to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, he played down the issue, saying: “When he (Eshwarappa) spoke seriously, he always speaks lightly.”

Asked why the BJP was not holding the Congress government responsible for such crimes, Eshwarappa had retorted: “You tell me what we need to do. We will do it. We have criticised the government in the house when a six-year-old girl was sexually abused in the city last year.”

When his remarks were condemned by political leaders, social activists and women groups, a rattled Eshwarappa hastened to clarify that his comments were twisted out of context.

“I have highest respect for women and consider them as sisters and girls as daughters. My reply has been distorted, as I was expressing their plight in anguish due to weak law and order in the state,” he said.

Expressing regret if his remarks had hurt the journalist and offended women, Eshwarappa said he was only trying to highlight the deteriorating law and order situation in the state where anyone could be raped anywhere.

(IANS)

 

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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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AI scenarios present ethical issues ranging from privacy, human rights, employment or other social issues.
AI scenarios present ethical issues ranging from privacy, human rights, employment or other social issues. 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)

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