Artificially intelligent machines are just years away

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 07/13/2011 - 13:55

LONDON, England - July 5, 2011 - It's a standard scenario across the world - the computer crashes and we scream exactly what we think at the flickering screen.

But we may soon have to learn to bite our tongues - or risk the wrath of being shouted at by the machine we've just cursed.

This is because scientists are building a voice-activated device that can interact with people in a “natural and intelligent way”.

Artificial intelligence will help it become familiar with a user's voice, with the ultimate goal that it can understand, speak and behave like a human.

The five-year, £6.2million project is still in its infancy but researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge and Sheffield believe the technology will have many benefits.

It could improve voice-activated computers, develop web search engines for audio clips, and create voice-controlled devices for the home.

The latter could help older people stay independent for longer.

Professor Steve Renals, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, said, “We are working to develop technologies that can recognize and generate natural sounding speech. This could open the door to computer speech technology becoming commonplace throughout our lives - at home, at work, and in our leisure time.”