Google’s DeepMind makes progress in computer-generated speech

©Kate Peters Professor Nick Bostrom with code from DeepMind’s DQN program that could teach itself to play computer games at or above human level Google’s DeepMind division has claimed a big leap forward in producing computer-generated speech, potentially bringing forward the day when machines sound as “natural” as humans. Researchers at the UK-based artificial intelligence arm said tests of their system with human listeners, though unavoidably subjective, had shown that the technology halves the quality gap that exists between today’s computer systems and human speech. One person familiar with the research said the system, called WaveNet, was not being employed in any of Google’s products yet, and that the massive computing power it needed to generate speech made it impractical for “real world” use for the foreseeable future. The research…

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