🦾 Power of AI
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‘‘AI, SAY IT OUT LOUD’’: Text To Audio Generation With Artificial Intelligence

Özge Yıldız
October 3, 2023

Text to audio generation with artificial intelligence is simply the process of teaching a computer system how to transform written words into spoken text.

This revolutionary technology has countless applications, including text-to-speech synthesis, voice recognition, and speech synthesis. By using natural language processing and machine learning algorithms, the text-to-audio generation system can create spoken language that sounds like it's coming from a human.

And thankfully, text-to-speech has come a long way from the early monotone synthetic voices many of us remember from the 1990s.

By training machine learning models on massive data sets containing millions of hours of authentic human speech, programmers can now extract characteristics that make speech sound natural and expressive. Factors like emphasis, pauses, volume and pitch changes all factor into how rhythmic and fluent speech sounds, and artificial intelligence is learning to mimic these nuances in computer generated audio.

Surely you've heard about the new technology where AI can mimic the human voice using data from a few seconds of video.

Beyond sounding more pleasing to the ear, infusing AI generated audio with more human-like characteristics can make content easier to comprehend, retain and remember. Studies show that variations in tone, speed and volume aid cognition and focus, making stories, lessons and information more engaging when delivered in a natural voice.

In this article, we'll explore how this technology works and the potential impacts of more natural sounding audio for education, entertainment and accessibility.

How does text to audio generation work?

Text-to-speech technology has come a long way in recent years.

The process starts with transcribing written text into a stream of phonemes, the small sound units that make up words. Then, an AI model accesses a speech synthesizer that contains databases of each phoneme being spoken by a human voice actor.

The AI model looks at the phonemes it needs to generate and searches the database for the closest match. It then strings the relevant phoneme clips together to form words and sentences.

The AI also adds in prosody - variations in pitch, rate and volume - based on punctuation and syntax to make the speech sound more natural.

Does all this make the text-to-speech technology seem complex?

In reality, the basics are fairly simple. You input text, the AI model breaks that text into individual sounds, finds the recordings of those sounds in its database, and stitches them together to mimic a real voice speaking the words out loud.

The challenges come in training the AI models to identify and string phonemes together accurately, and in creating speech synthesizer databases with enough phoneme variations and emotions to produce conversational, natural-sounding audio.

So although the underlying techniques may be straightforward, achieving high-quality text-to-speech requires sophisticated AI.

What are the application areas of generating audio from text using artificial intelligence?

When we talk about text to audio generation with artificial intelligence, there are many exciting applications to explore.

For instance, you can use it to create voice overs for videos, which can make your content sound more professional and engaging.

Whether you're creating a marketing video or a tutorial, adding a high-quality voiceover can take your content to the next level. With AI-generated speech from text, you can achieve a natural, human-like voice that your audience will love.

But probably the most widespread current use is in assistive technologies to aid the visually impaired.

By converting text documents to synthesized speech, visually impaired people can have access to all kinds of written material from books to websites in an audio format. This essentially makes information that would otherwise only be accessible through sight available through listening.

Other potential applications include adding audio versions of documents to aid learning and memory retention.

Hearing content spoken aloud can aid in recall and understanding, so text-to-audio capabilities could supplement reading materials for education. E-books and online articles could offer an audio option to play alongside the text, engaging the learner in multiple ways.

For those with dyslexia or other reading difficulties, audio content could support visual reading of texts.

But that's not all – with AI-powered text-to-speech technology, you can also create amazing audio books.

Unlike traditional books, audio books are read out loud, which means that the narrator's voice is a critical part of the experience. With AI, you can generate a captivating and entertaining voice that will keep your listeners hooked from start to finish. Plus, there are many software tools available that can help you generate audio from text, so you don't need to have any special technical skills to get started.

Overall, text-to-audio AI has many promising applications for enhancing accessibility, learning, and information consumption through audio in addition to traditional visual reading.

In conclusion,

AI text-to-speech generation has made tremendous progress recently and holds much potential to enhance accessibility and productivity.

The improved neural synthesis models have enabled high-quality and natural-sounding audio from text. This revolution has fostered plenty of useful applications like ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts and assistive devices for the visually impaired.

However, there is still room for improvement, especially around handling longer passages with complex syntax, generating more expressive and emotive speech, and reducing unintended bias in the generated audio.

With further advances in neural network architectures, larger datasets and more powerful hardware, we will likely see AI text-to-speech generation become even more widespread, natural and useful in the coming years.

With patience, prudence and proper purpose, humanity can harness the capabilities of AI text-to-speech technology to enrich communication and improve countless lives.

But we must be wary of misuse and the potential to exacerbate inequalities.

With care and common sense, this exciting technology offers much promise to improve how we share and consume information in the future.

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