Efforts to acknowledge the risks of new AI technology

By Cade Metz

SAN FRANCISCO—In July, two of the world’s top artificial intelligence labs unveiled a system that could read lips. 

Designed by researchers from Google Brain and DeepMind — the two big-name labs owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet — the automated setup could at times outperform professional lip readers. When reading lips in videos gathered by the researchers, it identified the wrong word about 40 percent of the time, while the professionals missed about 86 percent.

In a paper that explained the technology, the researchers described it as a way of helping people with speech impairments. In theory, they said, it could allow people to communicate just by moving their lips.

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