Ars Technica: Microsoft’s new AI can simulate anyone’s voice with 3 seconds of audio

Ars Technica: Microsoft’s new AI can simulate anyone’s voice with 3 seconds of audio. “On Thursday, Microsoft researchers announced a new text-to-speech AI model called VALL-E that can closely simulate a person’s voice when given a three-second audio sample. Once it learns a specific voice, VALL-E can synthesize audio of that person saying anything—and do it in a way that attempts to preserve the speaker’s emotional tone.” Do we have time to vote against this trend of calling everything GAN-related whatever-E?

Lifehacker: You Can Make Your Smartphone Read Out Loud to You

Lifehacker: You Can Make Your Smartphone Read Out Loud to You. “Why are you reading this article? Wait, don’t click away—what I mean is, why are you reading this article? Chances are, you visited this article from your smartphone, like so many of us do. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android, you can make your phone read text out loud to you, so you never need to read it yourself again.”

MakeUseOf: 4 Free Sites and Extensions for Online Text-to-Speech Tools

MakeUseOf: 4 Free Sites and Extensions for Online Text-to-Speech Tools. “There are a whole host of different benefits that you can achieve with text-to-speech, no matter who you are or what you’re doing. But downloading various programs onto your computer just to give text-to-speech a try can be a bit of a daunting task. Fortunately, there are plenty of online services that allow you to achieve the same functionality as many text-to-speech services without having to worry about any downloads.”

9to5 Google: Google’s ‘Look to Speak’ accessibility app now works in 17 more languages

9to5 Google: Google’s ‘Look to Speak’ accessibility app now works in 17 more languages. “Google has really expanded and improved the volume of services offering enhanced control schemes and accessibility for those with disabilities and motor impairments. Look to Speak is an app that allows you to control your smartphone with just your eyes – by looking at predetermined and prewritten phrases, which your smartphone will then read aloud.”

The Verge: Disney’s text-to-speech TikTok voices censored words like “gay” and “lesbian”

The Verge: Disney’s text-to-speech TikTok voices censored words like “gay” and “lesbian”. “TikTokers have demonstrated that Disney’s text-to-speech TikTok voice, meant to sound like Rocket the Raccoon, would refuse to read words like ‘gay,’ ‘lesbian,’ or ‘queer’ out loud. This decision seems to have been reverted — you can now get the voice to read out those words, but it’s unclear why it was happening. The change, however, is very recent — The Verge confirmed that the voice wouldn’t say the words, but it started to do so in a subsequent test minutes later on Monday afternoon. TikTok hasn’t commented on why this happened, but videos posted to highlight the issue still have the words blanked out.”

The Verge: Disney partners with TikTok for official text-to-speech voices from Stitch, Chewbacca, Rocket Raccoon, and more

The Verge: Disney partners with TikTok for official text-to-speech voices from Stitch, Chewbacca, Rocket Raccoon, and more. “Disney is teaming up with TikTok to add official character voices to the popular social media app’s text-to-speech feature, allowing you to have your captions read by Lilo and Stitch’s Stitch, C-3PO, Chewbacca, a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Mashable: How to create an audio version of any too-long-to-read article

Mashable: How to create an audio version of any too-long-to-read article. “If you find reading long articles and features challenging, why not convert them to audio so you can listen to the content at a time and pace that suits you? Whether you’re researching something for work or study, or you just want to read for pleasure, converting the text to audio and then to an MP3 file that you can listen to on your computer or a mobile device is a great option to have. We’ve tried and tested a very simple-to-use, free online tool that can help you create an audio version of any too-long-to-read (we’ll let you be the judge of that!) article in a matter of minutes.”

Google AI Blog: Recreating Natural Voices for People with Speech Impairments

Google AI Blog: Recreating Natural Voices for People with Speech Impairments. “PnG NAT is a new text-to-speech synthesis (TTS) model that merges two state-of-the-art technologies, PnG BERT and Non-Attentive Tacotron (NAT), into a single model. It demonstrates significantly better quality and fluency than previous technologies, and represents a promising approach that can be extended to a wider array of users.”

The Verge: How to use TikTok’s Text-to-Speech feature

The Verge: How to use TikTok’s Text-to-Speech feature. ” While Text-to-Speech is available on devices like tablets or phones via the operating system, it’s relatively forward-thinking for a social app like TikTok to make it available within the app. Other platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t make use of this feature. Instagram does auto-caption stories but only if someone is already speaking in the video.”

The Next Web: This Chrome extensions turns articles into audio playlists

The Next Web: This Chrome extensions turns articles into audio playlists. “As a reporter, I have to read a lot of articles every day, and I often can’t get around to all the tabs I open by the time I clock out. It’s frustrating as hell, and I’ve been looking for a solution to clear my reading queue. Thankfully, I came across Podcastle, a Chrome extension that solved all my problems. On the surface, it’s just a text-to-speech converter — and there are many of them out there — but it comes with extra bells and whistles that are actually useful. And unlike other text-to-speech tools, it works across tabs so you can control your listening queue and playback for several articles in one place.”

MakeUseOf: 6 Free Online Tools to Download Text-to-Speech as MP3 Audio

MakeUseOf: 6 Free Online Tools to Download Text-to-Speech as MP3 Audio. “Text to speech tools help you turn the written word into the spoken word. Text to speech technology has come a long way over the years, with male and female voices, different accents, and the ability to control volume, pitch, rate, and more. If you need a service to convert text to speech and then download it as an MP3 file, we’ve rounded up the best free websites to do that. The emphasis here is on tools that give you a file at the end of it, rather than just playing the conversion.”

Mashable: Brilliant paramedic uses voice-to-text app to talk with patients who lipread

Mashable: Brilliant paramedic uses voice-to-text app to talk with patients who lipread. “In case you needed one more reason to be in complete awe of first responders handling the COVID-19 pandemic, paramedic Danny Hughes is here to help. On Friday, the UK-based medical professional, who currently works for South East Coast Ambulance Services per his Twitter bio, shared his inventive solution for speaking to patients who lipread while wearing a mask.”

Library of Congress: Experimenting with speech-to-text and collections at the Library

Library of Congress: Experimenting with speech-to-text and collections at the Library. “This guest blog post is shared by Chris Adams, Solutions Architect in the Office of the Chief Information Officer/IT Design & Development Directorate, and Julia Kim, Digital Projects Coordinator at the National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress, formerly the Digital Assets Specialist at the American Folklife Center, supporting digitized and digital multi-format content for digital preservation and access workflows. In this post, they share more about exploring the feasibility of off-the-shelf tools to enhance description and aid in processing of Library of Congress collections. Read on for more background on the phases of the Speech-to-Text-Viewer experiment from creating the viewer interface to exploring its utility in processing workflows.”

Make Tech Easier: The Best Web Apps to Dictate Your Docs and Notes

Make Tech Easier: The Best Web Apps to Dictate Your Docs and Notes . “You probably know Google Docs supports dictation in dozens of languages, but what if Google Docs’s ‘live dictation’ feels a bit restrictive, or you don’t like the complicated interface? There are alternatives to Google Docs with practically the exact same levels of accuracy (since they use the same Google Voice API), but a different interface, that could be better-tailored to your needs. Let’s see how you can use some of the best web apps to type with your voice instead of your keyboard.”