Stephen Hawking’s New Intel Speech System Gets a Boost from SwiftKey

Intel has upgraded the Hawk’s speech system with SwiftKey, so that the Professor can take advantage of the app’s word predictions. In other news, Hawking said that the proliferation of AI could threaten the human race.

The chipmaker has been giving Hawking a voice for two decades now, and decided his voice synthesizing system could use an upgrade. The man who is considered one of the most intelligent scientists of our time will now be able to express himself at a greater pace, thanks to SwiftKey’s word prediction technology.

And this is what Hawking had to say about the new speech system: “Medicine has not been able to cure me, so I rely on technology to help me communicate and live. Intel has been supporting me for almost 20 years, allowing me to do what I love every day. The development of this system has the potential to improve the lives of disabled people around the world and is leading the way in terms of human interaction and the ability to overcome communication boundaries that once stood in the way.” In case it wasn’t clear, Intel will open the standards included in this system to allow other disabled people to benefit from this technology.

Hawking is not willing to change the synthesized voice that known for (and which can even be heard on Pink Floyd’s 1994 song Keep Talking) “That voice was very clear although slightly robotic. It has become my trademark and I wouldn’t change it for a more natural voice with a British accent. I’m told that children who need a computer voice want one like mine.”

Regarding the way AI could alter our future, Hawking is not that optimistic, envisioning something that sounds a bit like the script of Terminator: “The primitive forms of artificial intelligence we already have, have proved very useful. But I think the development of full AI could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded,” pointed out the brilliant scientist.

Not long ago, the physicist said that the Internet has had a negative, as well as a positive impact on humankind: “More must be done by the Internet companies to counter the threat, but the difficulty is to do this without sacrificing freedom and privacy.”

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