AI seems to be learning something new all the time. Liopa, an Irish startup, has created an app called SRAVI (Speech Recognition App for the Voice Impaired), which uses AI to read lips. The technology is limited, with a small phrase bank and around 90 percent accurate word recognition, but SRAVI could still make a huge difference for those who cannot speak, such as people with tracheostomies.
Liopa is not alone in the AI lip-reading field; Google, Huawei, Samsung, and Sony are all conducting ongoing research. Though lip-reading technology could be helpful, the technology could have disturbing effects on privacy. Questions proliferate about the ethics of technology that police or employers could potentially use to pick out keywords from security footage without sound.
Fraser Sampson, the UK’s biometrics and surveillance camera commissioner, explains, “My principal concern in this area wouldn’t necessarily be what the technology could do and what it couldn’t do, it would be the chilling effect of people believing it could do what it says. If that then deterred them from speaking in public, then we’re in a much bigger area than simply privacy, and privacy is big enough.” People remain divided on the solution, but all advocate for more discussion.