VOCALiD NAMED FINALIST IN PROJECT VOICE AWARDS 2020
MICHELE J MARTIN
VocaliD is honored to announce that we are finalists for three Project Voice Awards. The awards recognize best-in-class global achievement across the realm of voice-first technology and its underlying AI. This year's Project Voice Awards Gala takes place in Chattanooga, Tennessee on January 15th, 2020. Winners will be announced live so please stay tuned to our social accounts for live updates!
The Top Leaders in Voice is a recognition bestowed upon those working in the voice space by a panel of journalists and voice technology peers. The 2019 Voice Leaders are segmented into four lists - Visionaries, Designers and Products, Technologists, and Influencers.
"Topping the list in the visionaries category are Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Adam Cheyer from Samsung and Viv Labs.
Designers and products leaders include Google’s Cathy Pearl and Mark Webster from Adobe.
The Technologists category includes another Googler, Brad Abrams, along with John Giannadrea from Apple and Rohit Prasad from Amazon.
Then there are the Influencers that are shaping the way consumers and corporate executives think about voice technology today such as Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media, Dave Isbitski from Amazon, and Noelle LaChartie from Microsoft.
However, these lists are not limited to executives at big companies. Many have an outsized influence on the market today because of the reach and impact of their companies, but also included are startup founders from Audioburst, Audio Analytic, Clinc, Orbita, Pretzel Labs, and VocaliD among others."
Voicebot utilized a variety of methods to narrow down their list and determine the final Top 44 Leaders in Voice, including - surveys of voice professionals, panel suggestions, media coverage, and social media activity. None of the judges or writers affiliated with Voicebot were eligible for consideration. Each individual was then scored based on several factors and, if chosen, were then segmented into their leadership category.
Learn more about the selection process and the panel of judges, listed at the bottom of the overview page, linked above.
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The SEARCH FOR RORI's VOICE
MICHELE J MARTIN
One of the founding missions of VocaliD is to give voice to the voiceless. It fuels everything we do. Every time we are able to build and deliver one of our personalized synthetic voices to an individual and improve their lives, we are reminded of why we do this.
Chasing the Cure is a new television show that brings the power of crowdsourcing to medical mysteries. Cases that have been undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, all desperate for a cure. The site features a list of different case files that visitors can read through and comment on. One of these case files was Rori.
We were so moved by Rori's case. As a speech scientist, our founder, Rupal Patel, was certain she could help, so she recorded a video message that we then posted on Twitter... hoping it would get in front of Rori and the team at Chasing the Cure.
Confident that we could help Rori to regain some of her lost vocal identity and independence, the video offered to build her a unique synthetic voice through the power of crowdsourced voices from contributors around the world. We made the offer and asked her to contact us if interested and then we waited.
On tonight's live premiere episode, our video made it in front of Rori.
As Mr. Vedantam begins the podcast, "At some point in our lives, many of us realize that the way we hear our own voice isn't the way others hear us. And we begin to realize that our voices communicate so much more than mere information: they reveal our feelings, our temperament, our identity."
This sets the tone for the next 30 minutes in which voice as identity is looked at from several angles, including a transgender woman's struggle with hearing herself in her voice, a woman who experienced a drastic change in her voice after surgical intubation damaged her vocal cords, and in the case of speech disorders requiring speech generating devices to communicate, how the use of modern speech synthesis technology can provide these individuals with their own unique identifiable vocal identities.
"Voice is about who you are. Our voice signals how old we are. Our voice signals our gender. Our voice signals, you know, things about our personality."
An important part of any technology conversation is "how do you mitigate the unintended outcomes?" and this is something Rupal and Shankar briefly touch upon. With the increase in deep fakes across media, Ms. Patel discussed the vulnerabilities and risks of new voice technologies, from political to financial impacts. She further stated that along with advances, there are ethical responsibilities that companies building these technologies must consider, and how VocaliD has designed ethical AI into our business.
In summary, this podcast is a wonderful introduction into the concept of voice as identity. Be sure to subscribe to Hidden Brain for more fascinating episodes as Shankar Vedantam uses science and storytelling to reveal the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, shape our choices and direct our relationships.
BeSpoke Voices Named Finalist in 2019 Index Awards
MICHELE J MARTIN
VocaliD is honored that BeSpoke Voice has been named one of 42 finalists in the 2019 Index Awards. Nominated for the Body Category, BeSpoke Voice finds its place alongside innovative solutions such as Thumy, Petit Pli, MasSpec Pen, and Project Coelicolor.
The Index Award is a biennial award launched in 2005 by The Index Project, a global design event that was established in 2002 by Kigge Hvid. While it was originally crafted as a way to promote Denmark as an innovative design nation, the project quickly took on a more global footprint. Its mission is a simple yet lofty one - "Design to Improve Life".
Since their inception they have given out 42 awards in 5 categories: Body, Home, Work, Play & Learning, Community, and a People's Choice. Winning products and team span the globe. Some of the previous winners of the Index Awards include Tesla (the only team to win twice - once for the the Tesla Roadster and again for the Tesla Powerwall rechargeable battery), Raspberry Pi, Ethereum Foundation, Duolingo, Paperfuge, The Ocean Cleanup Array, Labster, Fresh Paper, and the " Copenhagen Climate Adaption Plan".
"I felt it was important to create a solution that would give every individual a unique voice."
When will we hear if we won? Well, the Index Award's ceremony takes place on September 6th, 2019 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Regardless of whether we win, we are proud to be recognized alongside our esteemed global peers in technology and innovation. We will be cheering everyone on... and hoping for a win, of course!
This one hour in depth interview was a deep dive into VocaliD, as well as, the history and science of speech synthesis, providing the listener with a solid understanding of the hows and whys of modern voice AI.
During the podcast, Rupal and Bret delved into the future of computer-generated voice and how it relates to the surge in voice-first products we are seeing (and hearing). The technological advances in machine learning will undoubtedly offer numerous benefits from both a consumer and brand standpoint.
One of the many interesting take aways was the impact that today's advances in speech synthesis will have on inclusivity and allowing communities to feel less disenfranchised.
Rupal explained that if you look at the past - the prototypes for radio and television broadcasting were a very limited voice or face. There wasn't much diversity in the beginning, but now you are seeing, and hearing, a far more diverse range of communities in these two mediums. This hadn't yet caught on in the synthetic voice world however, and Rupal is eager for what will come now that VocaliD can offer unique high quality diverse voices.
"Our world is diverse. From age, gender, sexual orientation, and accents, and we don't hear much of that at all in the synthetic voices we hear around us."
-Rupal Patel, CEO of VocaliD
Wrapping up this educational podcast, Ms. Patel discussed the ethical responsibilities that technology companies must be aware that they hold when creating new technologies that may bring unintended consequences - and how it is important to consider ways in which to build safeguards into the design of your technology to mitigate these risks.