I have chosen the topic “Commercial applications of spoken language technology” for my report, within the report I will research into the area of Spoken Language Technologies, commercialisation within this field and the technology that exists already. I will then discuss a plan of the system I intend to create for my second assignment within this module. I will also create several power point slides which I will present in class.
Brief History of Spoken Language Technology
The first recorded attempts at Language and speech technology is dated back more than 200 years ago in 1791 when a Hungarian man by the name of Farkas Kempelen developed the first speech production machine. This invention was a voice synthesizer, capable of producing speech-like sounds. Farkas Kempelen documented his findings in his book “Mechanismus der Menschlichen Sparche (Vienna, 1791)”. Many believe Language and speech technology are a part of Artificial Intelligence, but this type of intelligence started much earlier by a man more than 200 years ahead of his time and whose research helped found the science of phonetics.
Below you can see a reconstruction of Kempelen’s speaking machine. (Brackhane, n.d.)
At the beginning of the 20th century another Hungarian expert Miklos Bano began further development of speech synthesis. In 1916 he created a speaking machine which was capable of reproducing any text. In 1939 The Bell Laboratory presented a device called Voice Demonstrator(VODER), which was a fully electronic hand controlled speaking machine. The machine could produce continuous speech and was operated by a specialised technician using a keyboard. The 1950s saw the first system that could be programmed with the help of computers, which was the major breakthrough in speech synthesis.
Below is a schematic circuit of the VODER
In the 1950s experts in America began research into computational linguistics, trying to use computers to translate foreign languages. Researchers thought that since computers proved to be much faster at performing mathematical processes that they would prove to be more efficient at dealing with human languages also. This assumption was slightly premature, the experiments failed as processing human language turned out to be more complex than previously thought. The research into Artificial intelligence began almost 10 years later in the 1960s, Language and speech technology was combined then with this new area.
Speech and Language Technology
“The aim of speech and language technology is to make communication between humans and humans, and humans and machines more efficient, and to make human work less difficult by providing the technological basis of new, computer-based products and services.” (Anon., n.d.)
The purpose of speech and language technologies is to enable the user a more competent communication experience, whether it is between two humans or a human and a machine. The communication is aimed to be less problematic for the human as the system will work in an understandable manner.
Spoken Dialogue Systems
“Spoken Dialogue Systems