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BBC, Microsoft experiment with AI & Biometrics for iPlayer

Could this experimentation mark a major change in the way we watch television?

By Tom Ball

The BBC is teaming up with Microsoft to create and test a new version of iPlayer that would allow the viewer to talk to their television.

To provide this capability artificial intelligence (AI) is being used for the project to allow the user to control the device using their voice.

In a report detailing the new project, Microsoft said that the user could log into their account after accessing iPlayer by speaking their name and a phrase.

Using advanced technology, the system could potentially differentiate between users based on tone of voice and pitch. The report on the website says thaBBC, Microsoft experiment with AI & Biometrics for iPlayert this would remove the need for a username and password, marking a foray into biometric security.

Cyrus Saihan, Head of Digital Partnerships, Distribution and Business Development at the BBC said in a blog post: “The ability of humans to communicate with each other by talking is one of our species’ most unique traits…  As the technology around us continues to evolve, it is interesting to consider how we might soon be talking naturally with the range of digital devices that have become such an important part of everyday life for many.”

“If we look further into the future, when AI and machine learning have advanced sufficiently, you could end up in a conversation with your TV about what’s available to watch now, whether you like the sound of it or not, whether there’s something coming up that you’re interested in, and what you like to watch when you’re in a certain mood. All the time, your TV service would be learning about your preferences and getting smarter about what to suggest and when,” said Saihan.

READ MORE: Facebook AI goes AWOL forcing researchers to pull programme

Microsoft is central contender in implementing AI, which is currently a major tech trend alongside machine learning and blockchain for example.

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The company has set up the Microsoft AI and Research Group, aiming to be at the forefront of implanting the new technology, with over 5,000 computer scientists on board.

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