Tuesday January 22, 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.

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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Here’s How Computer Can Cause Neck Pain

Solutions include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level.

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Indonesia, e-commerce, computer
Indonesian domestic workers attend a computer class during their day off at the Sekolah Indonesia Singapura (Indonesian School) in Singapore, Dec. 12, 2010. VOA

Do you tend to suffer from headaches or neck and backaches from computer work? If so, checking your posture may help, researchers say.

Sitting at a computer with jutting head forward to look more closely at the screen compresses the neck and can cause fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, increased muscle tension and can even lead to injury to the vertebrae over time.

It can even limit the ability to turn the head, the researchers explained.

computer
The researchers suggest to check posture and make sure the head is aligned on top of the neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling. Pixabay

“When your posture is tall and erect, the muscles of your back can easily support the weight of your head and neck — as much as 12 pounds,” said Erik Peper, Associate Professor at San Francisco State University.

“But when your head juts forward at a 45 degree angle, your neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. Now the muscle weight of your head and neck is the equivalent of about 45 pounds. It is not surprising people get stiff necks and shoulder and back pain,” Peper added.

For the study, published in the journal Biofeedback, the team first asked 87 students to sit upright with their heads properly aligned on their necks and asked them to turn their heads.

Then the students were asked to “scrunch” their necks and jut their heads forward.

Ninety-two per cent reported being able to turn their heads much farther when not scrunching.

MBA, online training, skills, computer
Sitting at a computer with jutting head forward to look more closely at the screen compresses the neck and can cause fatigue, headaches.

In the second test, 125 students scrunched their necks for 30 seconds. Afterwards, 98 per cent reported some level of pain in their head, neck or eyes.

The researchers also monitored 12 students with electromyography equipment and found that trapezius muscle tension increased in the scrunched, head forward position.

Also Read: iPad Neck Pain More Common Among Women Than Men

The researchers suggest to check posture and make sure the head is aligned on top of the neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling.

Other solutions include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level, all to make the screen easier to read without strain. (IANS)