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Wrong Andy Aaron?

Andy Aaron Aaron

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IBM Corporation

1 New Orchard Rd

Armonk, New York 10504

United States

Company Description

IBM is a globally integrated technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, New York. With operations in more than 170 countries, IBM attracts and retains some of the world's most talented people to help solve problems and provide an edge for ... more

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Employment History


Andy Aaron

Web References (13 Total References)

According to Andy Aaron, of ... [cached]

According to Andy Aaron, of I.B.M.'s Thomas J. Watson research group speech team: "These sounds can be incredibly subtle, even unnoticeable, but have a profound psychological effect. It can be extremely reassuring to have a more attentive-sounding voice."

When I read that quotation, it hit me: Hey, I know Andy Aaron. Years ago, he said he was working on some sort of voice simulation, and asked to work my Southern accent into the mix.

A super-high-quality computer voice might ... [cached]

A super-high-quality computer voice might require 40 hours of voice recordings in order to sound nearly human, said Andy Aaron, a computer speech researcher at IBM.'

Andy Aaron, a text-to-speech ... [cached]

Andy Aaron, a text-to-speech researcher at IBM's Watson Research Center in New York, gave me another scenario. Imagine that we learn near the end of a book that something that an obscure character said in Chapter 1 had come true. "How is a computer going to understand that-to know that it's got to pause there for dramatic effect? Aaron asks. "I'm not saying it's impossible," he adds, "but I would say it's very far off to have an automatic system read a book as well as a professional actor. It's not on the horizon.

Andy Aaron, the IBM expert ... [cached]

Andy Aaron, the IBM expert quoted by the Authors Guild to prove Kindle could hurt audio sales says text-to-speech is a long way from competing against humans.

Andy Aaron, an IBM ... [cached]

Andy Aaron, an IBM text-to-speech expert, says synthetic voices don't know when to add emphasis or inflection when reading.

(Credit: Andy Aaron)
Andy Aaron, an expert on speech-to-text technology, recently commented in an interview about how much such systems have advanced. In an op-ed piece published Tuesday in the The New York Times titled "The Kindle Swindle? Roy Blount Jr., president of the Authors Guild, used Aaron's quotes to support his argument that the Kindle's voice feature could threaten the future of audio books.
But when asked to elaborate, Aaron told CNET News on Wednesday, the audio-book market has little to fear from "synthetic voices."
"I'm a big believer in (text-to-speech) and a booster of it," said Aaron, who is with IBM's Watson Research Center.
Aaron says the technology has advanced to a point where synthetic voices can be made to sound happy or apologetic. The major roadblock for these systems, however, is that they don't know when to insert these effects or choose the effect that is most appropriate.
What's missing in computers is the ability to understand what they're reading, said Aaron.
"Even a mediocre human reader is interacting with the text and understands every word that he or she is reading," Aaron said.
They could, says Aaron, but that would take an enormous of amount of time and expense. At that point it's easier to hire a human reader and create an audio book.
Here's a little bit about how they create a voice for text-to-speech. First, a professional reader is hired to read text created for its "phonemic diversity. The sentences are designed to cover a wide range of word sounds. The process takes more than 60 hours to complete, Aaron said.
Andy Aaron, the IBM expert quoted by the Authors Guild to prove Kindle could hurt audio sales says text-to-speech is a long way from competing against humans.

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