Firstly, could you watch the video below? Our senior instructor speaks about himself. It sounds natural for me, far better than my poor English. Then the question comes. Who speaks in reality? Human or machine?
The answer is IBM Watson, one of the famous artificial intelligence in the world. When I listened to his (or her?) English, I was very surprised as it sounds very natural and fluent. I want to have artificial English speakers for a long time in order to develop self speaking apps. Finally, I found it!
This function is one of the new five services provided in IBM Watson Developer Cloud as beta service. Now it has 13 functions total. Here are new services.
- Speech to Text : Speech can be converted to text in real-time basis. It looks good when I try to convert news broadcast into text.
- Text to Speech : This is used to prepare the video message above without native speakers. It sounds natural for both male and female voices. English and Spanish (only male) are currently available. One of them is the American English voice used by Watson in the 2011 Jeopardy match
- Visual Recognition : When you can input jpg image, Watson can identify what it is with probabilities. I try several images, however it looks less accurate than I expected so far. In my view it needs improvement to be used in applications.
- Concept Insights : According to explanations in the company blog, the Concept Insights service links documents that you provide with a pre-existing graph of concepts based on Wikipedia. I think it is useful as it works beyond just using keywords in searching information.
- Tradeoff Analytics : According to explanations in the company blog, it helps people make better choices when faced with conflicting goals and multiple alternatives, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. I think it has optimization algorithms in it. It may be useful to construct investment portfolios.
Watson can listen to speeches, read text and speak it. It also can see the image and understand what is to some extent. Therefore Watson can do the same thing as human do with new added functions. Therefore, in theory, mobile applications can obtain the same functions as people do, such as seeing, reading, listening and speaking.
IBM Watson Developer Cloud has a plan to add new functions as they are ready. Although they are currently beta service, its quality must be improved gradually as machine learning behind services learns a lot in future. It enables us to develop new services with artificial intelligence to be available in a short period. It must be amazing. What kind of services do you want? Maybe it will be available in near future !
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