The Californian start-up Verbz has programmed voice recognition software that translates voice messages into set tasks for colleagues. This saves time and the hassle of typing that is usually involved when sending e-mails or creating appointments. The AI behind the system detects names, dates and activities in the voice recordings and transforms them into tasks that colleagues can accept or decline. What's more, spoken summaries of meetings that are recorded on the go can be sent to others, with the next steps already defined.
As part of a campaign against homophobia and transphobia, Fondation Émergence put up posters in Montreal displaying insults directed at homosexuals and transsexuals from real social media postings. The posters were originally meant to be on display for several days, but in the end they only "survived" for 20 minutes. Many passers-by who read the abusive comments reported them to the police, who quickly arrived to remove them. The foundation wanted to show that hate speech is often left untouched in social networks for a long time, unlike in the real world.
As part of its "Translatotron" research project, Google now offers direct speech-to-speech translations, without even using any text. The system also avoids dividing the task into separate stages. Normally, speech is first converted into text and then machine translated. The result is then switched back into speech. However, "Translatotron" does not use such intermediate steps and translates directly using a sequence-to-sequence model. A speaker encoder maintains the character of the source speaker's voice in the synthesized translated speech, making the translation more natural.
The start-up Hive offers an app called "Codi" that enables users in San Francisco to book a place to work at their neighbours' homes. The service is for people who do not wish to work alone but find coworking spaces too expensive and cafés too loud. People who wish to make their homes available have to prove to "Codi" that they live there, have enough space to work, a clean toilet and an internet connection. For customers, the service starts at $70 per month for 25 hours, while hosts can earn themselves an extra $1,200 per month.
The American cosmetics brand Lime Crime has launched an AR app that brings its product packaging to life. Users of the app can point their smartphones at the "Venus XL 2" eyeshadow palette and the "Softwear Blush" to find out more about the products in an entertaining way. Botticelli's Venus is animated on the package and introduces the product, which is also explained in detail by influencers in tutorials. The "Softwear Blush" also lets people interact with a 3D image and allows them to access various colours.