Google’s DeepMind Bests Lip-Reading Expert


When I warn about the robot apocalypse, no one takes me seriously. But they really need to start.  Google’s DeepMind, which is currently one of the world’s most advanced machine learning systems, has just racked up another incredible win, this time against an expert in lip-reading.

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That might not sound that special, it’s not a cut-throat game of chess, for example, but it really is astonishing. That’s because the advanced pattern and particular facial recognition is one of the most complex cognitive processes humans can do. It’s also what nearly one-quarter of our brain mass is dedicated to. Now that we’ve lost this to the machines, it’s only a matter of time before they replace us.

Researchers at Oxford University helped with the tests. The human lip-reader and DeepMind watched and analyzed hours of BBC broadcasts and then each gave their best estimation of what was said.

The squishy meat-bag only got 12.4 percent of its words correct, while DeepMind managed an impeccable 46 percent. It’s worth noting that the human regularly analyzes security footage and provides testimony in court. So… that’s comforting.


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To be fair, this is awesome for a lot of reasons. Google will likely try to implement this recognition into its Google Now service so that it can use visual recognition to supplement speech analysis. It could also be a boon for the hearing impaired, provided easier and more universal access to basic services. And I’d be remiss to hand-wave that away. But, this is another nail in humanity’s coffin. Robots are already mastering driving; they can even paint and compose music. They can even write their own code, which is essentially the entire point of machine learning systems like DeepMind. And while that’s really cool from a “Wow, look at that!” perspective, we really need to shore up our defenses against the bots if we want to survive the next few decades. After all, top minds like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are terrified of the potential of AI.

I’m warning you: you need to get ready now. Or you could be an idiot and invite something like Google’s  Home or the Amazon Echo. But seriously. Don’t do it. You’re basically inviting the AI INTO YOUR HOUSE.

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