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AI isn’t yet ready to pass for human on video calls

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Leading up to Superbowl Sunday, Amazon flooded social media with coquettish ads teasing “Alexa’s new body.” Its gameday commercial depicts one woman’s fantasy of the AI voice assistant embodied by actor Michael B. Jordan, who seductively caters to her every whim — to the consternation of her increasingly irate husband. No doubt most viewers walked away giggling at the implausible idea of Amazon’s new line of spouse replacement robots, but the reality is that embodied, humanlike AI may be closer than you think.

Today, AI avatars — i.e., AI rendered with a digital body and/or face — lack the sex appeal of Michael B. Most, in fact, are downright creepy. Research shows that imbuing robots with humanlike features endears them to us —  to a point. Past that threshold, the more humanlike a system appears, the more paradoxically repulsed we feel. That revulsion has a name: “The Uncanny Valley.” Masahiro Mori, the roboticist who coined the term, predicted a peak beyond the Uncanny Valley wherein robots become indistinguishable from humans, beguiling us once more. You can imagine such a robot would be capable of fooling us that it’s human on a video call: a twenty-first century refactoring of the old text-based Turing Test.

On a recent Zoom with legendary marketer Guy Kawasaki, I made a bold proclamation: In two years’ time, Guy would be unable to distinguish between me and my company’s conversational AI, Kuki, on a video call. Guy’s eyebrows arched at the claim, and caveats began to cascade from my big fat mouth. Maybe on a short video call. With low bandwidth. If he was drinking champagne and dialing in from a bubble bath, like the lady in the Alexa ad.

So let this be my public mea culpa, and a more grounded prediction. An AI good enough to pass as human on a video call needs five key technologies running in real-time:

  1. A humanlike avatar

  2. A humanlike voice

  3. Humanlike emotions

  4. Humanlike movement

  5. Humanlike conversation

Avatars have come a long way recently, thanks to the wide, cheap availability of motion capture technology (“MoCap”) and generative adversarial neural networks (“GANs”), the machine learning technique underlying Deep Fakes. MoCap, which allows actors to puppet characters via haptic suits and originally required the big budget backing of films like Avatar, is now accessible to anyone with an iPhone X and free game engine software. Numerous online web services make it trivial to create low-res deep fake images and video, democratizing technology that, if left unchecked, could be a death knell for democracy. Such advances have spawned new industries, from Japanese VTubers (a rising trend in the US recently co-opted by PewDiePie), to fake “AI” influencers like Lil’ Miquela that purport to virtualize talents but secretly rely on human models behind the scenes. With last week’s announcement of the “MetaHuman” creator from Epic Games (purveyors of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine in an industry that in 2020 surpassed movies and sports combined), soon anyone will be able to create and puppet infinite photorealistic fake faces, for free.

Technology enabling humanlike voices is also rapidly advancing. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google offer consumable cloud text-to-speech (TTS) APIs that, underpinned by neural networks, generate increasingly humanlike speech. Tools for creating custom voice fonts, modeled after a human actor using recorded sample sentences, are also readily available. Speech synthesis, like its now highly accurate counterpart speech recognition, will only continue to improve with more compute power and training data.

But a convincing AI voice and face are worthless without expressions to match. Computer vision via the front-facing camera has proved promising at deciphering human facial expressions, and off-the-shelf APIs can analyze the sentiment of text. Labs like NTT Data’s have showcased mimicking human gestures and expressions in real time, and Magic Leap’s MICA teased compelling nonverbal avatar expressions. Yet mirroring a human is one thing; building an AI with its own apparent autonomous mental and emotional state is another challenge altogether.

To avoid what Dr. Ari Shapiro calls The Uncanny Valley of Behavior, AI must display humanlike movements to match its “state of mind,” triggered procedurally and dynamically based on how the conversation is unfolding. Shapiro’s work at USC’s ICT lab has been seminal in this field, along with startups like Speech Graphics, whose technology powers lip sync and facial expressions for gaming characters. Such systems take an avatar’s textual utterance, analyze the sentiment, and assign an appropriate animation from a library using rules, sometimes coupled with machine learning trained on videos of real humans moving. With more R&D and ML, procedural animation may well be seamless in two years’ time.

Humanlike conversation is the final, and hardest, piece of the puzzle. While chatbots can deliver business value within confined domains, most still struggle to carry on a basic conversation. Deep learning + more data + more compute power have so far failed to yield meaningful breakthroughs in natural language understanding relative to other AI fields like speech synthesis and computer vision.

The idea of humanlike AI is deeply sexy (to the tune +$320 million venture dollars and counting); but, for at least the next few years until the key components are “solved,” it’s likely to remain a fantasy. And as avatar improvements outpace other advances, our expectations will rise — but so will our disappointment when virtual assistants’ pretty faces lack the EQ and brains to match. So it’s probably too early to speculate when a robot may fool a human over video calling, especially given that machines have yet to truly pass the traditional text-based Turing Test.

Maybe a more important question than (when?) can we create humanlike AI is: should we? Do the opportunities — for interactive media characters, for AI healthcare companions, for training or education — outweigh the dangers? And does humanlike AI necessarily mean “capable of passing as human,” or should we strive, as many industry insiders agree, for distinctly non-human stylized beings to sidestep the Uncanny Valley? Personally, as a lifelong sci-fi geek, I’ve always yearned for a super AI sidekick that’s humanlike enough to banter with me, and hope with the right regulation — beginning with baseline laws that all AIs self-identify as such — this technology will result in a net positive for humanity. Or, at the very least, a coin-operated celebrity doppelganger like Michael B. to read you romance novels until your Audible free trial expires.

Lauren Kunze is CEO of Pandorabots, maker of conversational AI Kuki.

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/02/21/ai-isnt-yet-ready-to-pass-for-human-on-video-calls/

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6 Best Artificial Intelligence Apps Making Human Lives Easier

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It is no secret that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gained a lot of popularity and taken the world by storm. Past studies have revealed that the global market of AI is predicted to reach from US$29.82 billion in 2019 to US$252.01 billion in 2025, growing at a CAGR of 42.7 percent.

“Research by Gartner identified that in the next few years, every application or service will incorporate AI at some level. ” 

Due to its benefits, AI is being used in different business functions and fields, including marketing, operations, finance, etc. 

Besides this, AI allows computers to extract valuable insights from large volumes of data, thereby helping perform complex tasks with ease. Moreover, AI-based apps have not only facilitated organizations, but have made human lives a lot easier. For example, rule-based automation and machine learning have simplified many routine jobs.   

Apart from business applications, AI has now gained popularity in the real world scenario and is being increasingly used in web-based and mobile applications. And for this reason, AI-enabled apps are being increasingly embedded in mobile operating systems that are available in the market.

We have created a list of the 6 best Artificial Intelligence apps that are making human lives easier. 

#1 Google Assistant 

The first one on our list is none other than the famous Google Assistant, which is an AI-driven virtual app generally available on smart home devices and mobile phones. The good thing about this AI app is that it supports different languages. This gives users a chance to interact with the app by using their mother tongue. 

Apart from this, the Google Assistant can perform all the possible tasks that can make your life easy and hassle-free. Not sure which ones? Have a look at the list below:

  • It can access the required information from your calendar. 
  • It can look up for information online, such as restaurant bookings, weather updates, etc. 
  • It can play your favorite music for you. 
  • It facilitates in making appointments and sending messages. 
  • It can open different apps on your phone or other smart devices. 

#2 Ada – Healthcare in Your Hand

Ada is another AI-based app that has a clean and interactive user interface and it helps you in understanding what are you suffering from. This app works like any other doctor’s appointment as you are required to share your basic details first and then details regarding the symptoms.

Based on the information that you provide, it prepares a medical report regarding your current condition, which includes a summary, potential causes, etc. You can also share that report as a PDF with your doctor or any medical expert for further diagnosis. 

Besides this, Ada is an accessible health advisor which is powered by a smart Artificial Intelligence engine. The good thing about this app is that it considers all important patient information, such as past medical history, risk factors, and more. And after gathering this data, it leverages machine learning and AI to provide accurate feedback.

#3 Hookt

Another one on our list is Hookt which is a platform that facilitates in chatting, making friends with people who share common interests. So, if you are somebody who is fond of making new friends in your area or while traveling, you should try the Hookt app. 

All in all, it is crucial to note that sometimes apps ask you to share your personal information, thus increasing the likelihood of scams. A study carried out by Business Insider revealed that 1 out of every 10 adults falls prey to a scam each year in the US. 

Therefore, you should be well aware of how to detect a fraud or scam as this can save your money. For instance, previously, many Vodafone users reported that they had to pay for the airG chat service even when they didn’t subscribe for it. However, airG was fast enough to identify this airG spam and took corrective actions immediately. Since not everyone is as responsible and authentic as airG, you should be beware. 

#4 Socratic 

AI and Robotics have not only revolutionized the way businesses are run, instead they are helping improve educational standards at schools considerably.  

“Socratic is one of the most popular AI-based apps for iOS and Android that helps students with their homework.” 

This app provides educational and informative resources, such as explanatory videos, definitions, etc. To use this app, users are required to take a photo of their homework, and then the app provides them with solutions and principles that can help solve the problems. 

The best thing about this app is that it is not subject-specific, instead, it provides help regarding different subjects, including Chemistry, English, Economics, Math, and Science. 

#5 YVA

YVA is a cloud-based app that is widely used in many different organizations. This app leverages AI for evaluating the performance of employees. Apart from this, YVA can be connected to instant messengers and corporate mail, thereby making it a one-stop solution. 

Another good thing about this app is that it conducts regular employee surveys, and analyzes the received information. This helps send the required warnings to employees and managers. Besides this, YVA helps prevent conflicts in teams, as it recognizes the competencies, like strengths, weaknesses, and leadership qualities of each employee. 

#6 Juke Deck

Juke Deck leverages the full potential of AI-based technologies for creating music tracks of different genres. However, the users of this app are required to identify the initial parameters of the composition, including the genre, tempo, duration, mood, etc. Once these variables are finalized, the Create Track Buttons helps process the track. 

The good thing is that you can either listen to the music that you have composed in a browser or download it on your computer. Revisions to the processed track can be done easily as well. Apart from this, Juke Deck does not ask for royalties, therefore you can use the work created as you wish. For example, you can post your created tracks on social media or YouTube. 

The Final Words 

In a nutshell, Artificial Intelligence has completely revolutionized the way we live and has made our lives a lot more convenient, on both – a personal and professional level. Therefore, you should try the above-mentioned AI-powered apps and enjoy their benefits.

The post 6 Best Artificial Intelligence Apps Making Human Lives Easier appeared first on Aiiot Talk – Artificial Intelligence | Internet of Things | Technology.

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Source: http://www.aiiottalk.com/artificial-intelligence-apps-making-human-lives-easier/

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