Radio Host Interviews Jón Guðnason about Robotics and AI

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Recently, Jón was interviewed on the Icelandic afternoon radio show,  Síðdegisútvarpið. On the program, he conversed about the progress in robotics and artificial intelligence. The focus of the conversation was on a new video from Boston Dynamics and how their robots can get about by opening doors and how the latest development in AI is allowing robots to sense their world and behave in more natural ways.

The interview was conducted at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV).

 

 

ASR: A SMASHING HIT AT UTMESSAN!!!

On Saturday Róbert and Anna also presented a prototype for an automatic speech recognition web service for general Icelandic (Vefgátt fyrir íslenskan talgreini). This speech recognizer for Icelandic will be made available to the public later this spring.

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LVL members explain how to use the ASR.
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Róbert presents the microphone to attendees to try out the Icelandic ASR for themselves.

 

Funding Approved for Icelandic Youth Language Study

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The Eyra app

We are delighted to be participating in the project “Icelandic Youth Language: An Empirical Study of Communicative Resources” headed by dr. Helga Hilmisdóttir at The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies.  Using Eyra, Teenage group conversations will be recorded and annotated during the project and used to study linguistic features such as communication patterns, vocabulary, imagery, inflection, sentence order and voice.  The data will also be used to improve language technology for teenage voices.

 

 

Does the future understand Icelandic? – UTMessan Talk

On Friday, LVL will be at the UTMessan conference being held here in Reykjavik. UTMessan is a IT conference presented in both Icelandic and English. The talk, “Skilur framtíðin íslensku? (Does the future understand Icelandic?)” will be presented by Anna Björk. This will be our first time presenting at UTMessan so we are very excited.

If you are interested in attending, below are the talk details:

Abstract: In recent years language technology and artificial intelligence have made a giant leap forward. The revolution becomes clear in the development of intelligent assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana, that in ever more households are becoming a part of the family. In the discussion about language technology for Icelandic, the most prominent subject has been how and when we are going to speak Icelandic with those assistants.

But what about language technology for the purpose of increasing efficiency and service quality of companies and institutions? This talk discusses language technology in this context and what is needed so that Icelandic companies can join the rapid development in the field.

Watch the talkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaOYG23R7_k
Date: 2 February, 2018
Location: Tækjatal – Chatbot Talks, Silfurberg B, Harpa, Reykjavík, Iceland
Language: Icelandic (perfect opportunity to brush up on your Icelandic)
Time: 11:55am – 12:25pm
Speaker:

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More details at UTMessan

We hope to see you there!

Interspeech 2017 Conference Summary

Yu-Ren gave a really good talk about measuring voice severity.

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Then, on Wednesday Anna, Inga, Matthías, and Jón answered questions about their posters to conference attendees.

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During the conference, welcome reception, and the banquet we reconnected with many old colleagues and met many new  in the speech processing and speech recognition world. For anyone who didn’t get a chance to attend Yu-Ren’s talk or to see the posters by Jón and Inga, we have links at the bottom of the post.

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Anna’s data is also available on Malfong now.

Inga’s Icelandic Parliament ASR Corpus

Yu-Ren’s slides

Jón’s Eyra Speech Corpora Poster

We hope to see you next year!

Largest Icelandic LVL Group at Interspeech in 2017

This August, our LVL group members will be attending Interspeech 2017 to present their three papers, meet other folks in the speech recognition field, and have lots of fun. Two posters,“Building an ASR corpus using Althingi’s Parliamentary Speeches” and “Building ASR corpora using Eyra,” will be presented during the Wednesday Special Session: Digital Revolution for Under-resourced Languages 2 poster session at 13:30-15:30 so go say, “Hi!” to our members if you can. The third paper, “Objective Severity Assessment From Disordered Voice Using Estimated Glottal Airflow,” will be presented as a talk by Yu-Ren on Monday afternoon.

For the Alþingi Speech paper by Inga Rún, the language corpus can be found at Malfong.is and the Kaldi recipe can be found on Github.com but the best resource will be Inga Rún herself so grab a drink and find her at the Welcome Reception or the Standing Banquet.

We hope to meet you all there!

Paper accepted to an IEEE-Transactions journal

Congratulations to Yu-Ren for getting his paper accepted to the highly recognized scholarly journal in the field of speech processing, “IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing”! However, the paper wouldn’t have come about without the collaborative efforts of MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Universidad Tecnica Federico Santa Maria, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. His paper, “Evaluation of glottal inverse filtering algorithms using a physiologically based articulatory speech synthesizer,” is about measuring the performance of different algorithms on glottal flow generated by the VocalTractLab speech synthesizer. Since the paper just got accepted, we don’t have a link to it yet but we will add one as soon as it is available.

 

Edit: Volume 25 Issue 8 with Yu-ren’s article is now out. For those with a subscription, here is the link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7946161/

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Main results showing the performance of inverse filtering algorithms

Welcome, a new member

A new member just joined our team all the way from California, USA. Welcome, Judy !

Judy will be working with Inga on the ASR for parliament speeches project utilizing some mad Computer Science skills to among other things design an interface to get Inga’s research into the hands of the parliament staff.

It’s always necessary to not only have researchers, but also programmers and software engineers. All theory and no fun makes us all dull boys (and unemployed).

Learning from Europe

Two of the LVL team, Jón and Anna, are working on a strategic plan for Icelandic language technology, together with Steinþór Steingrímsson from The Árni Magnússon Institute of Icelandic Studies. The three of them have been – and will be – meeting LT specialists in Europe to learn about successful technologies and to collect material for the strategic planning. February 15th to 17th they went from seeing Etienne Roth from EPC in Mannheim, Germany, on spell and grammar checking, to Luxembourg to speak with the machine translation team of MT@EC and over to London to meet speech synthesis specialists at Google. A lot of nice, clever and helpful people they met there! While digesting the mass-input of these three days, the preparations for the next trips are already ongoing: Estonia on the 1st of March and Gothenburg, Sweden, later the same month.

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Markus Foti, Jón Guðnason, Steinþór Steingrímsson, Michael Jellinghaus and Andreas Eisele at EC in Luxembourg

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Jón at the Goodenough House, where he lived while studying in London “some” years ago

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View from the 11th floor, Jón and Steinþór together with Oddur Kjartansson at Google, London

 

AI Festival

The annual AI Festival was held at Reykjavik University two weeks ago on Nov 11, 2016. The focus of this year’s festival was AI and the economy. You can watch the entirety of the talks and discussions here (it was streamed live). There was no admission fee and the festival was open to everyone.

Many interesting lectures and discussions, including the one by Dr. Jacky Mallett, where they had written software to simulate an economy with several interesting results, but I have to mention here as she did at the beginning of the talk that

All economies described in this talk are artificial. Any relationship to any real economy is an open research problem.

and in fact that

This warning should be attached to all academic presentations on economics.

After the talks and discussions, there was a poster & demonstration session titled Innovation & AI in Industry & Academia where many people from within the University came to present their projects to interested parties. There were snacks, there was beer, there was fun and knowledge and ideas were shared.

The Language and Voice Lab of course had a strong presence there with 5 posters.

  • Automatic Speech Recognition for Simulated Air Traffic Control
  • Automatic speech recognition for Icelandic (two projects, Free and open large vocabulary ASR and ASR for parliament speeches)
  • Cognitive workload monitoring using voice
  • Eyra – data acquisition system for many languages
  • Objective Assessment of Voice Quality

You can see more about our projects here on this site, and of course you can contact us if you want further information.

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Here’s the program:
14.00 Introduction Dr. Kristinn R. Þórisson
– Professor at RU, Director of IIIM
14.10 Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Technological Change
Prof. J. Doyne Farmer
– Director of Complexity Economics, Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford
15.00 Coffee
15.15 AI & Economics: Problem or Opportunity?
Dr. Jacky Mallett
– IIIM Senior Scientist / Adjunct Professor, Reykjavik University
15:50 Position statements: AI & the Economy: Monkeywrench or Moneysaver?
– Dr. Jón Gudnason, Dr. Magnús Torfason, Dr. Kristinn R. Thórisson
16.05 Coffee
16.15 Panel Discussion: AI & the Economy: Monkeywrench or Moneysaver?
Moderator: Jacky Mallett
17.15 Innovation & AI in Industry & Academia (room M201)
– Posters & Demonstrations / Refreshments