Attack of the fakes – part 1

Did you know I can change my voice ? No ? Try listening to these samples:

Do I sound like “Mark” ?
Do I sound like “Linda” ?

Impressed ? I s’ld give a try to dubbing movies I guess 😉

These “modulations” are powered by a service called, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They use a combination of machine learning, signal processing, and hard-won intuition to develop real-time “voice skins”. Given now AI has started getting “creative”, I thought of coming up with a series of blog posts around these – I call it “Attach of the Fakes” as this is what I see happening in very near future.

Those who have been following Generative Adversarial Networks or GANs can already guess the use of adversarial training. Modulate team has detailed their approach in this excellent blog post. They have built a new kind of voice conversion architecture: parallel sample generation, adversarially trained for voice conversion, inspired by parallel wavenet architecture. They secured a seed round of $2M just last week but have got a lot of buzz and excitement around their technology already. To read more you can go to this post as well on MIT Technology Review which has featured them last week.

Now with this technology you can already imagine yourself impersonating _ANYBODY_ and hence this is rightfully giving nightmares to activists already. But this is true for a lot of recent development around AI and Modulate team is very well aware of the potential of misuse. Given the fact that humanity has overcome so many challenges I am sure this is a problem which will be solved 🙂

Btw, I have more of my “voice skins”, listen to me as “Evan” and “Katie” below:

Now, I am Evan!
I like Katie somehow
And finally a judicious mix of Evan and Katie!

DO try it out yourself at  – its fun 🙂

From “Data is Oil” to “AI is Electricity” : A decade of evolution

Data is Oil, AI is new electricity
A decade of evolution.

This one slide sums up a decade (2006-2016) of evolution in the areas of data processing, analysis, computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Clive Humby, UK Mathematician and architect of Tesco’s Clubcard, said in 2006 (widely credited as the first to coin the phrase): “Data is the new oil. It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”

Andrew Ng gave the phrase “AI is the new Electricity” in 2016. “Electricity changed how the world operated. It upended transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, health care. AI is poised to have a similar impact” he said. Information technology, web search, and advertising are already being powered by artificial intelligence. It decides whether we’re approved for a bank loan. It helps us order a pizza and estimate our wait time, and even tells the driver where to deliver it. Other areas ripe for AI impact: fintech, logistics, health care, security, and transportation.

“Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years,” Ng says.

AI bots as managers ?

If we remove the ability to have an emotional connect and being able to form meaningful bonds then we can as well hire AI bots to lead us, don’t really need a human leader. At the end I believe AI is going to make us more human by forcing us to focus on traits which define us as a human, something which no AI can manage (yet). #AI #Leadership

This article by Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Vince Brewerton in Harvard Business Review reminds managers that they are human beings.

Why Do So Many Managers Forget They’re Human Beings?

There is another old article from HBR which touches upon the subject of having robots as managers. It kinds of explores the subject with both pros and cons of having a robot as a manager.

In the end it simply depends on people – there are those who have seen abusive managers and leaders and are ready to give bots a chance to manage assuming it will still be better than what they have faced already while there are those who had an opportunity to work with really good humans as their managers and leaders who will never accept AI bots as their managers. Maybe, a time will come when everybody will have to make a choice between the two.