Microsoft to Use AI to Create Human Voice

Synthetic voice is nearly indistinguishable from recordings of people
27 September 2018   1522

Researchers from Microsoft recorded computer voice, imitating human speech. To overcome the difficulties of the traditional model, they used neural networks for speech synthesis. Microsoft promises to provide support for 49 languages ​​and the ability to create unique voices for the needs of companies in the near future.

Synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks involves comparing the stress and length (so-called prosody) of the speaker's speech units, as well as their synthesis into a computer voice. In systems of traditional speech synthesis, prosody is divided into acoustic and linguistic analysis, controlled by various models. As a result, the speech is noisy and indistinct. Representatives of Microsoft argue that in the model of neural synthesis two stages are combined into one, so the voice sounds like a real one.

The developers are convinced that the synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks will make it more natural to communicate with virtual interlocutors and assistants. Moreover, it will enable you to convert e-books into audiobooks and will allow you to change the scoring of built-in navigators.

Microsoft Neural TTS
Microsoft Neural TTS

Azure computing power is available for real-time use, and Azure Kubernetes is responsible for this. Simultaneous application of neural synthesis of speech together with traditional speaks about expansion and increase of availability of service. At the moment, there are a female voice named Jessa and a man named Guy.

Microsoft is competing in speech recognition and synthesis technologies with Google, which updated its services in late August 2018. Google Cloud announced the release of a stable API for the synthesis of speech Cloud Text-to-Speech with the experimental function of audio profiles and support for several new languages. 

MelNet Algorithm to Simulate Person's Voice

It analyzes the spectrograms of the audio tracks of the usual TED Talks, notes the speech characteristics of the speaker and reproduces short replicas
11 June 2019   311

Facebook AI Research team has developed a MelNet algorithm that synthesizes speech with characteristics specific to a particular person. For example, it learned to imitate the voice of Bill Gates.

MelNet analyzes the spectrograms of the audio tracks of the usual TED Talks, notes the speech characteristics of the speaker and reproduces short replicas.

Just the length of the replicas limits capabilities of the algorithm. It reproduces short phrases very close to the original. However, the person's intonation changes when he speaks on different topics, with different moods, different pitches. The algorithm is not yet able to imitate this, therefore long sentences sound artificially.

MIT Technology Review notes that even such an algorithm can greatly affect services like voice bots. There just all communication is reduced to an exchange of short remarks.

A similar approach - analysis of speech spectrograms - was used by scientists from Google AI when working on the Translatotron algorithm. This AI is able to translate phrases from one language to another, preserving the peculiarities of the speaker's speech.