- Automatically translated audio brings to mind a monotone robotic voice that bears little resemblance to natural speech. But now Google researchers have developed a new AI system that maps audio “voiceprints” from one language to another, thereby keeping the voice and tone of the original speaker. They key is in converting audio input directly to audio output, as opposed to the conventional approach which converts audio into text, translates the text, and then resynthesises the audio. Curious to hear the result? The Translatotron system’s audio clips can be found here.
- The landslide win of Narendra Modi’s BJP party in India’s general elections made headlines around the world. More than 600 million people voted in the marathon six-week process that consisted of seven voting rounds. Looking at Indian social media trends over the last 30 days, #ElectionResults2019 was by far the most popular hashtag at close to 700K mentions. A controversial yet expected victory, several celebrities – including Bollywood actors Rajinikanth and Anil Kapoor and former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar –congratulated the new prime minister on Twitter, where a slip of the tongue by a news anchor became the source of many jokes.
- Are you an iPhone user? Planning a visit to China anytime soon? If so, you might want to consider investing in a new mobile phone case. The telecoms industry has ended up at the centre of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, US and China. Following allegations of ties between Huawei and the Chinese government, and speculation that the smartphones have been used for surveillance, President Trump’s added Huawei to Washington’s import blacklist. Chinese consumers have responded with an Apple boycott resulting in people ditching their iPhone for a Huawei upgrade and encouraging others to follow suit. Can Huawei fight the US trade ban? And how badly will China’s retaliation hurt Apple’s profits? We’ll keep monitoring the situation closely.
- The Netherlands had a good reason to celebrate this month as their Eurovision entry saw them win the international song competition for the first time since 1975. Here at the Convosphere office, we couldn’t agree on who truly was the worthy winner but one thing is certain: we all have a soft spot for countries performing in their native tongue! Were you among those struggling to stay awake until the end? Or maybe you missed the whole spectacle? Don’t worry, here’s a summary of the most important parts of the show.
- Never mind the weekly fire alarm test or police sirens. New research looking into the most common distractions in the workplace found that office workers are most likely bothered by colleagues talking loudly on the phone. Keen to stay on your co-workers’ good side? Then you’re best off grabbing a takeaway flat white next time you go out to make that call. Why? The humming sound of the coffee machine was also found to be a nuisance.☕
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