Vocal Mimicry Using Lyrebird Technology

Lyrebird has created a voice imitation technology that uses deep learning and artificial neural networks to create fascinating and somewhat scary results. It relies on deep learning models developed at the MILA lab of the University of Montréal.

Lyrebird will offer an API to copy the voice of anyone. It will need as little as one minute of audio recording of a speaker to compute a unique key defining her/his voice. This key will then allow to generate anything from its corresponding voice. The API will be robust enough to learn from noisy recordings. Lyrebird will offer a large catalog of different voices and let the user design their own unique voices tailored for their needs.

Users will be able to create entire dialogs with the new or mimicked voice. Inflection, emotion, and content can all be tailored as necessary through a developer API. The demos are fairly impressive but still distinctly robotic. Check out some Trump/Obama examples below.

I’m interested to find out how accurate this will be for non-english and non-human verbal communication.

Sheboygan Scanner

Sheboygan is a small city of approximately 50,000 residents – a population that seems to provide an endless stream of dumb criminals and weird, small-town crime. Maintained by an anonymous user since February of 2009, the @sheboyganscan twitter account has tirelessly transcribed entertaining communications that come through the Sheboygan, Wisconsin police scanner. Here are a few gems I’ve cherry picked for you:

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The Doctrine

History Of Spiritual Jazz: 1955-2012

In the final hours of Black History Month, I urge you to explore this marathon 12-hour Spiritual Jazz mix compiled by Black Classical. It’s a historical journey of Spiritual Jazz stretching from 1955-2012. This mix originally appeared on NTS Live, an online radio station based in London with studios in Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Manchester.

The catalog features recognized pioneers Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, Herbie Hancock, and Pharoah Sanders in addition to South African songstress Letta Mbulu and Brazilian percussion genius Airto. The cuts are deep and the mix is a crate diggers paradise.

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TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison Chart

Seven Earth-like Planets Found Orbiting Nearby Star

TRAPPIST1 Size Comparison ChartImage via Space.com

This morning NASA announced the discovery of seven Earth-like planets “that could harbor life” orbiting an ultra cool red dwarf star. Three of these seven newly discovered planets are in the Habitable Zone. The exoplanets circle the star TRAPPIST-1, which lies just 39 light-years (235 trillion miles) away — a mere stone’s throw in the cosmic scheme of things.

From Washington Post:

The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, represents the first time astronomers have ever detected so many terrestrial planets orbiting a single star. Researchers say the system is an ideal laboratory for studying alien worlds and could be the best place in the galaxy to search for life beyond Earth.

“Before this, if you wanted to study terrestrial planets, we had only four of them and they were all in our solar system,” said lead author Michaël Gillon, an exoplanet researcher at the University of Liège in Belgium. “Now we have seven Earth-sized planets to expand our understanding. Yes, we have the possibility to find water and life. But even if we don’t, whatever we find will be super interesting.”

Here’s the paper in Nature: Seven temperate terrestrial planets around the nearby star TRAPPIST-1.

Novel Uses For (Rap) Genius

Genius started out as a platform for annotating clever rap lyrics but has since expanded to include more than hip-hop, and more than just lyrics. Over the last week I have stumbled across some increasingly novel uses for the Rap Genius website:

  • First was an annotation of Hamilton: An American Musical soundtrack. These annotations are filled with interesting tidbits and insights into the song lyrics, American history, and production plot.
  • Second was an annotation of the entire Great Gatsby. Wonderful.
  • Lastly, Travis Korte used the Genius Web Annotator to create an informative takedown of the GOP’s recent Mainstream Media Accountability Survey. The annotation exposes the confusingly worded questions, sample bias and leading questions used in the survey.