Interview SpeechMatics, the company founded by British neural network pioneer Tony Robinson, has made major advance in speech recognition. Speechmatics’ Automatic Linguist can now add a new language to its system automatically – without human intervention or tuning – in about a day, crunching through 46 new languages in just six weeks. Consider that there are around 7,000 languages in the world, and that the top 10 languages cover less than half the world’s population. The top 100 most popular languages still only get you to about 85 per cent. So speeding things up is significant. “It’s a technology of such remarkable ingenuity – I was astonished when I heard it was possible,” said Matthew Karas in our profile of Robinson earlier this year. We invited Robinson, who pioneered the use of recurrent neural networks in speech recognition, the “first deep neural networks” – to explain how the team built Project Omniglot. We also asked for his comments on the general field, including whether the AI business can get around the predicted “pause”. Read more here…

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