Much has been said about artificial intelligence in recent years. Prominent figures like Elon Musk are totally against it while Tim Cook supports the technology. According to Elon Musk there is a risk that intelligent machines may turn against their creator. We cannot say that technology only has advantages and no risks. We certainly cannot see into the future and hence cannot tell whether Musk is right or not. But as it stands there are various benefits of artificial intelligence.
In 2018, Google developed an art installation that was interactive and utilized TPUs and TensorFlow.js to exploit hand gestures in order to turn the various shadow shapes into animated versions of the Chinese zodiac animals. For 2019 which is the Lunar Year, Google has turned that experience into an in-browser game that educates users on how to manipulate their hands in order to form shadow puppets.
Transcription that is real-time
We are well familiar with voice-to-text technology. The most notable use of this technology is in YouTube where the audio is converted into captions or subtitles in real time. This process is called Automatic Speech recognition (ASR). One problem with this service is that it requires heavy computing resources as it is based on servers.
In October last year, Google launched a new feature ‘Call Screen’ on their Pixel devices. This was the first attempt of introducing ASR in mobile phones. Using this feature you can choose what happens to a call without even touching the phone. It allows you to answer the call or ask for more information from the caller and transcribes the responses in real-time.
Google’s latest introduction Live Transcribe features a similar service and can be used on all high-end Android devices. This service also features a real-time transcription function designed with the objective of helping the hearing-impaired android users. Live Transcribe is a free service and is available for over seventy different languages which are spoken by almost 80% of the global languages.
Shadow puppetry in China has been an ancient traditional art for that has been used for storytelling through the manipulation of silhouette shapes and music for the purpose of passing down cultural history. Paper cut-outs or shapes made with hands are put in front of a source of light and this is further projected on a screen. However, the ancient art is dying gradually and we think Google’s latest attempts might help in keeping it alive.
February 5 marked the beginning of the Chinese Lunar year and Google celebrated the event with a special Doodle which appeared in five countries. The shadow puppetry in the Doodle depicted the transition from the year of the Dog to that of the Pig.
The Doodle also had a link to a new web-based app, Shadow Art, created by Google to spread more awareness about the ancient art. It basically is an interactive game powered by artificial intelligence where you are shown a hand gesture. The user is required to match the hand gesture as quickly as possible. The open-source library TensorFlow.js then uses your camera to see if your hand gesture matches to that on the screen. If it does the silhouette form of the zodiac sign appears on the screen. It is a really fun game to play with your friends.