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《麻省理工科技评论》再报道:为何科大讯飞的人工智能被数亿人使用

科大讯飞 2019-02-10 14:39:19

6月,《麻省理工科技评论》发布的全球最聪明的50大企业,科大讯飞位列全球第六、中国第一。再次引发全球范围内的关注。

9月,《麻省理工科技评论》再次对科大讯飞进行追踪报道,深入解读科大讯飞智能语音及人工智能技术的应用成果。

以下为MIT TR的英文报道,中文由腾讯科技编辑翻译,原文略有改动,全文共8172字,阅读需10分钟:


↓【原文标题】↓

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Why 500 Million People in China Are Talking to This AI 

从交通到医疗,科大讯飞的人工智能被5亿人使用


iFlytek’s voice recognition technology is everywhere in China, and that’s what’s making it smarter every day.


科大讯飞的语音识别技术在中国随处可见,这也是为什么这项技术每天都在变得更聪明的原因。

 

科大讯飞2016年度发布会


When Gang Xu, a 46-year-old Beijingresident, needs to communicate with his Canadian tenant about rent payments orelectricity bills, he opens an app called iFlytek Input in his smartphone andtaps an icon that looks like a microphone, and then begins talking. Thesoftware turns his Chinese verbal messages into English text messages, andsends them to the Canadian tenant. It also translates the tenant’s English textmessages into Chinese ones, creating a seamless cycle of bilingualconversation.


当46岁的北京市民徐刚(Gang Xu,音)需要与加拿大的租客就租金或电费账单沟通时,他会打开智能手机上名为“讯飞输入法”的应用,点击看起来像是麦克风的图标,随后开始说话。这款软件将他的中文语音消息转换为英文文本消息,并发送给加拿大的租客。软件还可以将租客用英文编写的文本消息转换为中文文本消息,从而创造出双语对话的无缝循环。



输入法功能展示


In China, over 500 million peopleuse iFlytek Input to overcome obstacles in communication such as the one Xufaces. Some also use it to send text messages through voice commands whiledriving, or to communicate with a speaker of another Chinese dialect. The appwas developed by iFlytek, a Chinese AI company that applies deep learning in arange of fields such as speech recognition, natural-language processing,machine translation, and data mining (see “50 SmartestCompanies 2017”) .


在中国,有超过5亿人使用讯飞输入法来解决类似徐刚的沟通障碍。某些人在开车时使用语音功能去发送短信,而另一些人则使用该工具与操其他方言的中国人交流。这款应用由中国的人工智能公司科大讯飞开发。该公司将深度学习技术应用于语音识别、自然语言处理、机器翻译和数据挖掘等领域。点此进一步了解输入法详情

 

Court systemsuse its voice-recognition technology to transcribe lengthy proceedings;business call centers use its voice synthesis technology to generate automatedreplies; and Didi, a popular Chinese ride-hailing app, also uses iFlytek’stechnology to broadcast orders to drivers.


法庭使用科大讯飞的语音识别技术来听写冗长的诉讼程序;商业呼叫中心使用语音合成技术来生成自动回复;而受欢迎的中国打车应用滴滴也使用科大讯飞的技术来向司机广播订单。

 

But whilesome impressive progress in voice recognition and instant translation hasenabled Xu to talk with his Canadian tenant, language understanding andtranslation for machines remains an incredibly challenging task (see “AI’sLanguage Problem”).


然而,尽管语音识别和即时翻译等技术已经取得了长足的进步,让徐刚可以与他的加拿大租客交流,但让机器去理解和翻译语言仍是挑战巨大的任务。

 

Xu recalls amisunderstanding when he tried to ask his tenant when he would get off work tocome sign the lease renewal. But the text message sent by the app was “Whattime do you go to work today?” In retrospect, he figures that it was probablybecause of the wording of his question: you’ll work until what time today?“Sometimes, depending on the context, I can’t get my meaning across,” says Xu,who still depends on it for communication.


徐刚回忆,有一次他问租客,什么时候下班过来续签租约,这时软件发生了理解错误。当时,该软件发送的短信是:“你今天什么时候去上班?”徐刚怀疑,这是由于他的提问方式,因为当时的具体问题是:“你今天要上班到什么时候?”他表示:“某些时候,取决于具体语境,我无法准确表达自己的意思。”不过,他仍然依靠讯飞输入法去沟通。

 

Xu’s storyhighlights why it’s so important for a company like iFlytek to gather as muchdata from real-world interactions as possible. The app, which is free, has beencollecting that data since it launched in 2010.


徐刚的遭遇也证明,为何对类似科大讯飞这样的公司来说,尽可能多地从现实世界互动中收集数据如此重要。自2010年发布以来,这款免费软件一直在收集这些数据。

小拓展

近日,讯飞输入法海外服务器正式上线,使语音输入响应时间、稳定性和安全性有了飞跃性的提升。经过对海外链路的精选优化,美国、英国、意大利、日本、韩国、印度、马来西亚、新加坡、泰国、澳大利亚等国用户体验畅快的语音输入。‍



iFlytek’sdeveloper platform, called iFlytek Open Platform, provides voice-based AItechnologies to over 400,000 developers in various industries such as smarthome and mobile Internet. The company has international ambitions, including a subsidiary in the U.S.and an effort to expand into languages other than Chinese. Meanwhile, thecompany is changing the way many industries such as driving, health care, andeducation interact with their users in China.


科大讯飞的开发者平台,即讯飞开放平台,为智能家居和移动互联网等多个行业的40余万开发者提供了基于语音的人工智能功能。科大讯飞已经在美国成立了子公司,同时也在拓展除中文以外的其他语言。与此同时,科大讯飞也在改变中国交通、医疗和教育等行业与用户互动的方式。

 

讯飞大厦


In August,iFlytek launched a voice assistant for drivers called Xiaofeiyu (Little FlyingFish). To ensure safe driving, it has no screen and no buttons. Once connectedto the Internet and the driver’s smartphone, it can place calls, play music,look for directions, and search for restaurants through voice commands. Unlikevoice assistants intended for homes, Xiaofeiyu was designed to recognize voicesin a noisy environment.


今年8月,科大讯飞推出了名为“小飞鱼”的车载智能语音助手。为了保障安全驾驶,这款产品没有提供屏幕和按钮。在连接互联网和司机的智能手机之后,设备可以通过语音命令打电话、播放音乐、查找路线,以及搜索餐厅。与瞄准家庭用户的语音助手不同,小飞鱼的设计就是为了在嘈杂环境中识别语音。

“小飞鱼”车载智能语音助手


Min Chu, thevice president of AISpeech, another Chinese company working on voice-based human-computerinteraction technologies, says voice assistants for drivers are in some waysmore promising than smart speakers and virtual assistants embedded insmartphones. When the driver’s eyes and hands are occupied, it makes more senseto rely on voice commands. In addition, once drivers become used to gettingthings done using their voice, the assistant can also become a contentprovider, recommending entertainment options instead of passively handlingrequests. This way, a new business model will evolve.


中国另一家专注于人机语音交互技术的公司思必驰(AISpeech)副总裁初敏表示,从某些方面来看,面向司机的语音助手要比智能手机内置的虚拟助手,以及智能音箱更有前景。当司机的双眼和双手被占据时,语音命令会更有意义。此外,一旦司机习惯于用语音来完成操作,那么这样的助手就可以成为内容分发渠道,向司机推荐娱乐选择,而不仅仅是被动地处理请求。这将带来全新的商业模式。

 

In thehealth-care industry, although artificial intelligence has the potential toreduce costs and improve patient outcomes, many hospitals are reluctant to takethe plunge for fear of disrupting an already strained system that has fewdoctors but lots of patients.


在医疗行业,尽管人工智能有望降低成本,改善治疗效果,但许多医院担心,这将扰乱供需平衡已经紧张的医疗系统,因此并不愿意冒险。

 

At the AnhuiProvincial Hospital, which is testing a number of trials using AI, voice-basedtechnologies are transforming many aspects of its service. Ten voice assistantsin the shape of a robot girl use iFlytek’s technology to greet visitors in thelobby of the outpatient department and offer relief for overworkedreceptionists. Patients can tell the voice assistant what their symptoms are,and then find out which department can help.


安徽省立医院正在使用人工智能开展一系列试验。例如,该医院利用语音技术去改革服务的多个方面。在门诊大厅里,10名“机器人女孩”使用科大讯飞的技术充当语音助手,给繁忙的问询处提供帮助。病人可以告诉语音助手,他们的症状是什么,而这些助手会指导他们挂什么科室的号。点击查看详情

  安徽省立智慧医院(人工智能辅助诊疗中心)宣传片,时长约4‘34’‘


Doctors atthe hospital are also using iFlytek to dictate a patient’s vital signs,medications taken, and other bits of information into a mobile app, which thenturns everything into written records. The app uses voice print technology as asignature system that cannot be falsified. The app is collecting data that willimprove its algorithms over time.


医院医生也在使用科大讯飞的技术,通过移动应用去记录病人的生命体征、药物记录,以及其他信息。这款应用随后将把所有信息转换为文字记录。该应用使用声纹技术作为签名系统,因此信息无法被篡改。与此同时,该应用不断收集数据,优化算法。点击查看“智慧医院”详情

 

Althoughvoice-based AI techniques are becoming more useful in different scenarios, onefundamental challenge remains: machines do not understand the answers theygenerate, says Xiaojun Wan, a professor at Peking University who does researchin natural-language processing. The AI responds to voice queries by searchingfor a relevant answer in the vast amount of data it was fed, but it has no realunderstanding of what it says.


研究自然语言处理的北京大学教授万小军指出,尽管基于语音的人工智能技术在多种场景中都越来越有用,但基础性挑战依然存在:机器无法理解它们产生的答案。人工智能对语音命令的响应是通过在海量数据中搜索具有相关性的答案,实际上并不真正理解自己所说的内容。


In otherwords, the natural-language processing technology that powers today’s voiceassistants is based on a set of rigid rules, resulting in the kind ofmisunderstanding Xu went through.


换句话说,当前语音助手使用的自然语言处理技术基于一套严格的规则,这也导致了徐刚遭遇的问题。

 

Changing theway machines process language will help companies create voice-based AI devicesthat will become an integral part of our daily life. “Whoever makes abreakthrough in natural-language processing will enjoy an edge in the market,”says Chu.


如果可以对机器处理语言的方式进行变革,那么企业就可以开发出能深入人们日常生活的语音智能设备。初敏表示:“任何人如果能在自然语言处理领域取得突破,都可以在市场上获得优势。”


拓展阅读

中国第1、世界第6:科大讯飞上榜2017《麻省理工科技评论》“全球50大最聪明企业”

科大讯飞两项技术入选《麻省理工科技评论》2017全球十大突破性技术榜单


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《麻省理工科技评论》(Business Impact) | 英文来源

                 Yiting Sun | 英文作者

腾讯科技 | 中文来源

               陈桦 | 翻译作者

CC/ charline | 本文编辑

 阿序 | 本文责编


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