London: Artificially intelligent machines
that can interact and even argue with you are just years away,
as scientists have launched a mega project to develop a new
technology that will allow devices to talk to the users.
The technology equipped with artificial intelligence
will help machines become familiar with a user`s voice, with
the ultimate goal that it can understand, speak and behave
like a human.
Although the five-year, 6.2-million-pounds project
is still in its infancy, researchers from the Universities of
Edinburgh, Cambridge and Sheffield believe the technology will
have many benefits.
It could improve voice-activated computers, develop
web search engines for audio clips and create voice-controlled
devices that could help older people stay independent at home
for longer, a newspaper reported.
"We are working to develop technologies that can
recognise and generate natural-sounding speech," said Dr Steve
Renals of Edinburgh University`s School of Informatics.
"This could open the door to computer speech
technology becoming commonplace throughout our lives -- at
home, at work, and in our leisure time."
Besides recognising the users` voice and becoming
familiar with their vocabulary, accent and vocal expressions,
the technology could also be able to follow the flow of a
conversation and to gloss over changes in background noise.
Dr Thomas Hain, of the University of Sheffield`s
Department of Computer Science, added: "Speech technology is
clearly on its way into the mainstream, but the key to its
success is human-like performance.
"We are working on the foundations of technology that
will bring speech to new users and exciting new applications,
from clinical assistive technology to robotics, from schools
to board rooms."