MIT Tech Review released its annual Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies list this week, featuring Baidu’s Deep Speech in the category of “Conversational Interfaces.”

Reporter Will Knight writes: “Voice interfaces have been a dream of technologists (not to mention science fiction writers) for many decades. But in recent years, thanks to some impressive advances in machine learning, voice control has become a lot more practical.”

He continues: “In November, Baidu reached an important landmark with its voice technology, announcing that its Silicon Valley lab had developed a powerful new speech recognition engine called Deep Speech 2. It consists of a very large, or ‘deep,’ neural network that learns to associate sounds with words and phrases as it is fed millions of examples of transcribed speech. Deep Speech 2 can recognize spoken words with stunning accuracy. In fact, the researchers found that it can sometimes transcribe snippets of Mandarin speech more accurately than a person.”

Knight cites Jim Glass, a senior research scientist at MIT who has been working on voice technology, as saying: “Speech has reached a tipping point in our society. In my experience, when people can talk to a device rather than via a remote control, they want to do that.”

Knight wraps up his story with a quote from Andrew Ng, Baidu chief scientist: “In the future, I would love for us to be able to talk to all of our devices and have them understand us. I hope to someday have grandchildren who are mystified at how, back in 2016, if you were to say ‘Hi’ to your microwave oven, it would rudely sit there and ignore you.”

Other technologies featured in the Top 10 list include genetics, rockets and robotics.

Read more:
MIT Tech Review: Conversational Interfaces
MIT Tech Review: Top Ten Breakthrough Technologies
Silicon Valley AI Lab Tech Notes: Around the World in 60 Days
Deep Speech Recognizes Both English and Mandarin with Single Learning Algorithm 

2017-05-22T07:07:32-07:00 March 7th, 2016|