A new AI can focus on one voice in a crowd | Science News

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A new AI can focus on one voice in a crowd

The program can identify and suppress background noise using both visual and audio cues

9:00am, June 11, 2018
people at a cocktail party

LISTENING IN  A new AI filters out background conversations and other noise in videos to isolate what a single person on screen is saying.

Much like someone listening to a conversation at a crowded party, a new artificial intelligence can tune out background noise in videos to hear what a particular person on screen is saying.

Humans are naturally good at focusing on specific voices amidst the din — a phenomenon known as the cocktail party effect (SN Online: 4/29/14). But until now, programs designed to listen for specific speakers in noisy audio tracks have struggled to mimic humans’ selective mental muting. The new AI is designed to use both audio and visual cues, such as mouth movements, to separate sounds produced by different speakers in videos.

Researchers at Google tested their AI on cocktail party–like video clips that featured two or three people talking over each other, with various levels of

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