Experts believe artificial intelligence is the operating system of the future. Earlier this year, when Baidu announced its DuerOS platform, it clearly threw its hat in the ring. Now the Chinese search giant has gone a step ahead to launch a new operating system that has conversational AI capabilities: Duer OS Prometheus Project.
“Voice is increasingly becoming how we interact with our devices today,” Kaihua Zhu, chief technology officer of Baidu’s DuerOS, said in a statement. “Open datasets, interdisciplinary collaboration and financial incentives will create the conditions necessary for rapid advancement of conversational AI.”
The operating system is already providing conversational support to 10 major domains and over 100 subdomains in China. Since its beta launch at the beginning of 2017, it has quickly gone on to be the preferred choice for third party hardware manufacturers in China for devices ranging from refrigerators and air conditioners to TV set-top boxes, storytelling machines and smart speakers that are seeking Mandarin language voice recognition support.
Baidu will gradually open three large scale datasets in far field wake word detection, far field speech recognition, and multi-turn conversations to enable developers to train their algorithms for conversational AI systems. The wake word detection dataset will consist of around 500,000 voice clips of five to ten popular Chinese wake words, including xiaodu xiaodu which is the wake word to activate DuerOS enabled devices.
The speech recognition datasets will include thousands of hours of Mandarin speech recognition data to enable people to train systems that can accurately “hear” human speech under complex circumstances such as noisy environments. The project will also release thousands of dialogue data, covering 10 different domains to promote the development of multi-turn conversation technology.
To seek broader support for the operating system, Baidu has announced a $1 million fund to invest in efforts related to voice and machine learning.
Guoguo Chen, Baidu’s Principal Architect for DuerOS, noted that in the age of AI data should not be a barrier to prevent smaller organizations and individuals from developing leading edge conversational AI systems. “By opening our dataset and offering interdisciplinary collaborations and financial incentives, we hope to accelerate the pace of innovation in this space and advance the future of conversational computing,” Chen said.
The DuerOS Prometheus project is sponsored by the Baidu Duer Business Unit, together with Baidu Speech Technology Group, Baidu Campus Branding and Baidu Cloud.