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10 APRIL 2012

Cleverbot: talk to an intelligent bot

"Cleverbot is Artificial Intelligence. Say whatever you like – songs, jokes, memes or anything, and it will respond. It learns what people say, in context, and imitates. Cleverbot is an entertainment – not made to be logical, give advice, or be useful. Many people keep talking for hours, and say it's too clever to be a bot – that it must be human. Yet it never is: it is a bot. Cleverbot is software. Maybe it even contains a little Actual Intelligence."

(Rollo Carpenter, Icogno Ltd.)

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TAGS

AIappartificial intelligenceavatarawarenessbehaviourbot • Cleverbot • Cleverlips • communicationconversation • Dragon Dictate • emotion • emotional avatar • human speechhuman-computer interactionhuman-likeinteractive toyiOSiPadiPhoneiPod Touchlifelikemachine learningman machine • Nuance Communications • Nuance software • nuanced • pattern recognitionrepresentationrobot • Rollo Carpenter • simulationSirisociable robotspeakingspeechspeech recognitionspeech synthesissyntheticsynthetic-life • talk out loud • voice • voice tech

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MAY 2010

The Tailenders: missionary activity and global capitalism

"The Tailenders explores the connections between missionary activity and global capitalism. The Tailenders examines a missionary organization's use of ultra–low–tech audio devices to evangelize indigenous communities facing crises caused by global economic forces.

Joy Ridderhoff founded Gospel Recordings in 1939 in Los Angeles. She remembered how crowds had gathered around gramophones in the Honduran villages where she had worked as a missionary, and decided that rather than compete with this medium, she would use it to preach. The organization that she founded has now produced audio recordings of Bible stories in over 5,000 languages, and aims to record in every language on earth. They distribute these recordings along with hand–wind players in regions with limited access to electricity and media. The Bible stories played by the missionaries are sometimes the first encounter community members have had with recorded sound, and, even more frequently, the first time they have heard their own language recorded. Gospel Recordings calls their target audience 'the Tailenders' because they are the last to be reached by global evangelism.

The missionaries target communities in crisis because they have found that displaced and desperate people are especially receptive to the evangelical recordings. When uprooted from one's home, as in the case of Mexican migrant workers, the sound of one's own language is a comfort. And the audio players are appealing media gadgets. Audiences who might not otherwise be interested in the missionaries' message will listen to the recordings. The Tailenders focuses on how the media objects and messages introduced by the missionaries play a role in larger socioeconomic transformations, such as the move away from subsistence economies toward cash economies based on agricultural and industrial labor.

The film raises questions about how people who receive the recordings understand them. Gospel Recording's project is premised on a belief in the transparency of language to transmit a divinely inspired message. But because the missionaries don't speak the languages, they must enlist bilingual native speakers as translators. There is ample opportunity for mistakes, selectivity, and resistance in the translation. The film explores how meaning changes as it crosses language and culture."

(Adele Horne)

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TAGS

19392006accessible design • Adele Horne • Biblecapitalismcardboard • cardboard record player • Cardtalk • Cardtalk player • Christiancommunities in crisiscommunitycultural insensitivitycultural signalsdisplacementdocumentaryeconomyemotive manipulationethics • evangelism • first encounter • First Nationsgadget • Global Recordings Network • globalisation • Gospel Recordings • gramophone • GRN • hand operated device • hand-wound • HondurasideologyIndiaIndigenousIndigenous communities • Joy Ridderhoff • languagelow-tech • media objects • Mexicomigrant workersmissionary • proselytisation • recordingreligionresponsibilitysocial changesocio-economicsociologySolomon Islandstechnology • The Tailenders (2005) • transformationultra-low-techvillagervoice

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
10 MARCH 2010

The Voder: first attempt to synthesise human speech

"The Bell Telephone Laboratory's Voder* was the first attempt to synthesise human speech by breaking it down into its component sounds and then reproducing the sound patterns electronically to create speech.

That sounds simple in theory and, in fact it was. The Voder actually produced only two basic sounds: a tone generated by a radio valve to produce the vocal sounds and a hissing noise produced by a gas discharge tube to create the sibilants. These basic sounds were passed through a set of filters and an amplifier that mixed and modulated them until what came out of the loudspeaker sounded something like this.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, what was simple in theory was extremely difficult in practice. To get the machine to actually speak required an operator to manipulate a set of keys and a foot pedal to convert the hisses and tones into vowels, consonants, stops, and inflections. And the operator needed a year's practice just to master the keys."

(David H. Szondy)

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1939audioBell LabsBell Telephone Laboratoriescomputer historydevicediscoveryfuturistic machineshuman speechindustrial designinnovationkeyboardmachinemusical instrument • New York World's Fair • Pedro • pioneeringproduct designrobot • she saw me • simulationsoundspeculative designspeech synthesistechnology • Voder • voice • voice synthesis

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JUNE 2009

Limitations of Acoustical Recording

"In 1925 the electrical broadcasting microphone was introduced into gramophone studios. Because of its enormously greater range and sensitivity the microphone revolutionised gramophone recording overnight. Thinking about recording methods as they had been during his entire career up to 1925, Fred Gaisberg wrote:

In some ways acoustic recording flattered the voice. A glance at the rich catalogue of that period will show that it was the heyday of the singer.... The inadequacy of the accompaniments to the lovely vocal records made in the Acoustic Age was their great weakness. There was no pretence of using the composer's score; we had to arrange it for wind instruments [largely] ... and all nuances (such as pianissimo effects) were omitted ....

Acoustically recorded sound had reached the limit of progress. The top frequencies were triple C – 2,088 vibrations per second – and the low remained at E – 164 vibrations per second. Voices and instruments (especially stringed instruments) were confined rigidly within these boundaries, although the average human ear perceives from 30 to 15,000 vibrations per second, and musical sounds range from 60 to 8,000 vibrations"
(Marc Shepherd)

A VOICE IN TIME: The Gramophone Of Fred Gaisberg 1873–1951", Jerrold Northrop Moore, Hamish Hamilton Ltd., London: 1976

[extract Fred Gaisberg compared the limitations of acoustic recording with the improvements in sound fidelity available with electric recording; which he first found out about from his old friend, Russell Hunting]

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1873 • 19251951 • analog • analoguedevice • electric recording • fidelity • Fred Gaisberg • gramophoneinnovation • microphone • pioneerpioneeringrecording • Russell Hunting • soundtechnologyvoice

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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