Thursday November 14, 2019
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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.
The AI-based system named "Philyra" can learn about perfume formulas, raw materials, historical success data and industry trends. 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.

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“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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New Device Can Detect Unattended Kids Or Animals

The new device developed in University of Waterloo, Canada can detect unattended kids and animals

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This new device can help save kids and animals in vehicles. Pixabay

Researchers from University of Waterloo, Canada, have developed a new device which combines radar technology with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect unattended children or animals with a 100 per cent accuracy.

Small enough to fit in the palm of a hand at just 3nm in diameter, the device is designed to be attached to a vehicle’s rear-view mirror or mounted on the ceiling.

According to the researchers, it sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. The built-in AI then analyses the reflected signals.

“Unlike cameras, this device preserves privacy and it doesn’t have any blind spots because radar can penetrate seats, for instance, to determine if there is an infant in a rear-facing car seat,” said study researcher George Shaker, a Professor at the University.

“This system is so affordable it could become standard equipment in all vehicles,” he added.

Development of the wireless, disc-shaped sensor was funded in part by a major automotive parts manufacturer that is aiming to bring it to market by the end of 2020.

Analysis by the device determines the number of occupants and their locations in a vehicle.

That information could be used to set rates for ride-sharing services and toll roads, or to qualify vehicles for car-pool lanes.

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According to the researchers, the device sends out radar signals that are reflected back by people, animals and objects in the vehicle. Pixabay

Its primary purpose, however, is to detect when a child or pet has been accidentally or deliberately left behind, a scenario that can result in serious harm or death in extremely hot or cold weather, the study said.

In such cases, the system would prevent vehicle doors from locking and sound an alarm to alert the driver, passengers and other people in the area that there is a problem.

The low-power device, which runs on a vehicle’s battery, distinguishes between living beings and inanimate objects by detecting subtle breathing movements.

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Researchers were now also exploring the use of that capability to monitor the vital signs of drivers for indications of fatigue, distraction, impairment, illness or other issues.

The study was presented at the IEEE Sensors 2019 conference in Canada. (IANS)