Today we’re going to talk about how computers understand speech and speak themselves. As computers play an increasing role in our daily lives there has been an growing demand for voice user interfaces, but speech is also terribly complicated. Vocabularies are diverse, sentence structures can often dictate the meaning of certain words, and computers also have to deal with accents, mispronunciations, and many common linguistic faux pas. The field of Natural Language Processing, or NLP, attempts to solve these problems, with a number of techniques we’ll discuss today. And even though our virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Home, Bixby, and Cortana have come a long way from the first speech processing and synthesis models, there is still much room for improvement.

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