Everything about Voice Intelligence Technology from an LG AI Expert
Sep 19, 2020
LG Electronics is doing a great job of sketching out the most realistic portrait of the future in the era of home IoT. 'Voice intelligence technology' has been added to LG Electronics's already-competitive home appliances, illustrating user-based trends that will help drive development forward.
'Voice intelligence technology' is the AI that we encounter most frequently in our daily lives. Beyond specific commands such as, “Turn on the TV,” we can now control home appliances around us by simply saying, “Good morning.” With 'voice intelligence technology' embedded in different products, we can use our voices to carry out a wide range of functions and check up on the status of each product.
We had a candid conversation with Yu-jin Kim, a research fellow at the LG Electronics Future Technology Center AI Lab, about how AI and voice intelligence technology can change the course of our lives.
Direction of Voice Intelligence Technology Development
LG Electronics strives to develop products using multiple artificial intelligence technologies such as high-precision voice intelligence, visual intelligence that can analyze videos, complex biometric authentication, and self-studying machine learning.
Among them, voice command-based AI has some of the greatest potential to enrich our lives by working with contact points all around us, such as smart TVs, refrigerators, cars, buildings, and more.
In speech-recognition services, the technology that recognizes the command, “Hi LG,” will operate first, but with two potential difficulties. If we modify it to increase its recognition capabilities, the system might answer even when we don't call for it. However, if we make recognition more difficult, it may not answer even after it's called.
To recognize a specific word, it's necessary to choose between recognition and misrecognition to filter out various noises in the user's surroundings. Research staff at LG Electronics considered which of the two situations posed more risk, and judged that it would be better to minimize misrecognition, based on the characteristics of LG Electronics’s products.
A product malfunction may cause an air conditioner to turn on, or a TV to turn off, without being prompted. While ordinary AI simply needs corrective user input to operate again, home appliances require a more precise command system.
Enhancing the Accuracy of Speech Recognition
LG Electronics has been contemplating the issue of accuracy rates in speech recognition, and a hybrid solution has begun to take shape, combining embedded technology with the fuller knowledge base of a server. An individualized speech-recognition service can control speech recognition on the device itself, and draw an understanding of various user patterns obtained from the server.
Just as humans can experience comprehension issues when surrounded by various noise sources, home appliances can also experience a similar drop in speech recognition due to surrounding noises occurring at the same time as operation.
Research is underway to improve upon current technology, with a focus on increasing the number of microphones to improve speech-recognition performance, and developing technology to differentiate between speech and noise patterns.
However, though an increase in the number of microphones would certainly improve the precision of speech recognition, it would also cause overall price to increase. It is vital for future technological development to keep this balance in mind when considering the needs of the end-user.
The reason voice recognition is used is that it can be controlled quickly and easily. However, it might not be so convenient to encounter issues while speaking commands from another room.
Voice control from a distance suffers the same decline in recognition rate due to ambient noise. Enhancing product performance while also keeping the price factor in mind is key to making these services both helpful and accessible.
As a practical solution, we recommend that you use the product by connecting a separate device, like an AI speaker, as a peripheral accessory.
The Ultimate Goal of Natural Communication
In order to have a natural conversation with a speech-recognition service, voice intelligence technology must understand the language in various ways.
Although the ultimate goal of voice intelligence technology development is natural and friendly conversation, there's an ambiguity to human language that makes it difficult for a device to judge each speaker's meaning correctly.
While the current AI battle is one of technology, a concurrent battle exists: the battle of data from a commercialization perspective. Data on a variety of information can soon appear as advanced AI.
Speech recognition is already identifiable in several areas of use. Since different topics like weather, music, and education have different patterns, more time will be required to accumulate sufficient data. Because speech recognition technology is constantly evolving, it will develop in the direction that users want.
AI Speech Recognition Recognizes My Voice
When using AI speech recognition, we might think, “Wouldn't it be more convenient if AI identified the speaker and gave them customized responses?”
Identifying a human voice is made possible with speaker identification technology. Technically speaking, this is technology that can be applied at any time, provided there is enough user demand. However, there are doubts as to whether it makes sense to apply this technology to the development of home appliances.
Current trends favor a gender-neutral voice, as well as one that identifies the speaker and answers in a similar voice. Due to varying preferences, the application of this technology should be approached with the end-user in mind.
There are other cases where we would prefer an AI home appliance to judge a situation on its own and inform us about it, just like in a movie. For example, when the air quality is bad, it could say, “The current air quality is bad. Would you like to close the window and turn on the air purifier and air conditioner?”
As in this case, the technology required to identify and respond to the situation autonomously is called “active speech.” Because active speech requires comprehensive judgment regarding the user’s pattern of use, its own status, environmental information, and current service status, various scenarios must be taken into consideration.
The intuitive AI of the 2019 LG Whisen ThinQ air conditioner changes operation modes based on the environment, rather than user commands, and informs users about changed modes via speech. In addition, the air conditioner checks for indoor and outdoor air quality, filter replacement requirements, etc., and announces useful information. For example, “The overall air quality outdoors is good. You may open a window for ventilation.”
Intuitive reasoning is possible with an individual product specializing in a specific function, but if various situations are presented to a single global system, there may be difficulty in executing immediate applications, as multiple versions of scenarios require large amounts of data to be collected and discussed. However, LG Electronics is constantly developing on existing technology for home appliances, so this service may become a reality in the not-so-distant future.
LG Electronics's AI Technology Strategy
LG Electronics focuses on differentiation, not only of technology, but also of data and services. We expect an even stronger solution through our three open tactics of AI: open platform, open connectivity, and open partnership. Original AI technology is open source and free to use, with AI developers all around the world discussing the real-time development of AI.
LG Electronics is contemplating which services to integrate with which data, based on advanced speech-recognition technology. For example, in order to maximize customer satisfaction, LG OLED TV is set up to utilize LG Electronics's proprietary technology to control the device itself, while its integrated search base is powered by Google.
LG ThinQ Home, which was unveiled at IFA 2020, revealed the direction of the future of LG Electronics. LG ThinQ Home encapsulated their motto, “Life’s Good from Home,” in an actual space that functioned for attendees as a home away from home.
In the future, LG Electronics will lead the charge in creating new services and solutions for the home environment, so their customers can enjoy a safer and more convenient life with the latest home appliances built with cutting-edge technology.
We look forward to seeing even smarter home appliances from LG Electronics, inspired by customers' needs and developed for a "better life.”
*The product images shown may represent the range of product or be for illustration purposes only, and may not be an exact representation of the product.
*This post has been edited the post contributed to LiVE LG, https://live.lge.co.kr/live-with-ai-04/.