Artificial Intelligence Just Gained a New Skill

Lip reading is hard. AI makes it easier.

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Oxford University researchers have developed an artificial intelligence that can accurately read lips using a technology from DeepMind. The team calls its AI LipNet, and it uses a technique called deep learning. Basically, the team trained the AI with many different videos of people talking, and the AI learned how to lip-read by itself.

This is a vast improvement over humans.

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Deep learning is extremely powerful. Earlier this year, DeepMind's deep learning AI AlphaGo beat the human champion at the game of Go, and deep learning has been applied to all sorts of other problems. Recently, a group of deep learning AIs were able to invent their own encryption method that no human can understand.

The Oxford team's AI made significant improvements over previous lip-reading programs, reaching a 93.4 percent accuracy. This is a vast improvement over humans, where even well-trained experts can accurately read lips just half the time.

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LipNet is still in the testing phase and currently only works well with videos that are well lit and head-on. This makes the software unsuitable for surveillance or security applications. However, the team is hoping to continue development of LipNet as an assistant for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, which would make it not only an amazing piece of technology, but an amazing resource for people who really need it

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