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Machine Speak: Left to Their Own Devices, Computers Can Figure it Out


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Laptops equipped with microphones and speakers talk to each other.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are teaching electronic devices to share data and communicate with other machines without human assistance.

Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are using new machine learning techniques to teach electronic devices to share data and communicate with other machines without human assistance.

Training and intelligence could allow devices to seek available media, such as acoustics, optics, or radio frequencies, and determine how to transmit messages on their own. Devices could learn to share data of any kind over nearly any physical medium, the researchers say.

The resulting machine speech is unrecognizable to humans, but the team says allowing computers to talk to each other is what will give them the intelligence to optimize their ability to maintain contact.

The researchers demonstrated machine speech by linking two laptops to separate speakers and microphones, and programming them with sounds known as phonemes in place of the digital bits of computing. The team input five numbers on the transmitting computer, and the two machines adjusted their speech until the receiving computer produced the numbers correctly.

From Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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