You may have recently noticed a new icon that’s appeared on your screen at the beginning of our articles. If you press the little black button with the loudspeaker icon, you will find our article being read aloud for you.
This exciting new application – which will make it easier for our readers to enjoy our content even while driving, doing chores, or running errands – is made possible by WebsiteVoice advances in artificial intelligence technology.
WebsiteVoice is a text-to-speech application that converts blog posts and online articles into audible material. It serves over 4,000 clients worldwide in 30 different languages.
Founded by Mohamad Awad and Roz Burch, the WebsiteVoice team calls itself “a group of avid readers and podcast listeners” who recognized a need for audio versions of online text.
“WebsiteVoice started as a side project,” their support team told Mind Matters. “The founders (discovered) an increasing demand for podcastings and as they read blogs and articles quite often, they found that it would be nice to transform the articles into audio files and listen to them when being busy.”
This “side project” is now a helpful tool not only to people who would prefer an audible version of their favorite online publications, but to people with learning disabilities and visual impairments as well.
WebsiteVoice is just one example of the advances made in text-to-speech technology in recent years. Believe it or not, speech recognition technology premiered as early as 1952 with a machine called “Audrey”. Audrey had a very limited vocabulary, though – it could only recognize the numbers zero through nine. Despite its limitations, Audrey paved the way for Siri sixty years later.
Microsoft and Apple offer complimentary text-to-speech built into their operating systems. (Using Windows, you can invoke Narrator with Windows + Ctrl + Enter. Using MacOS, you can select text, right click, and select “Start Speaking”.)
The quality of these onboard systems pales in comparison to WebsiteVoice. With access to processing in the cloud, WebsiteVoice compares in quality to other speech synthesizers like Alexa, Cortana, or Siri. There’s no doubt it’s computer-generated, but it’s a great improvement on many of the alternative systems out there that provide a monotone narration.
“We use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to constantly improve our voice algorithms to make your website text-to-speech as realistic as possible,” reads their website. “Say goodbye to robotic voice…Smart Adaptive Voice ‘SAV’ will make your website sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before.”
Never mind ridiculous claims of an AI takeover, in reality, the advances in text-to-speech technology provide some insight into how artificial intelligence can help us manage the tsunami of information in our world. Text-to-speech is just such an assistance, providing us with the opportunity to learn and grow even when it seems like our daily chores will never allow us the time. Enjoy!
Here are three of of our best-read pieces to which you can listen as you drive or work:
Why some scientists believe that the universe is conscious They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around.
Gödel Says God exists and proves it. Our goal is to explain, in English, what Gödel’s existence of God proof says.
Quantum mechanics shows that our universe has purpose. Not only can two physically separated particles influence each other, they can influence each other through time.