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Japanese mayor suddenly speaks fluent English with AI video that surprises even him

28 Comments
By SoraNews24

There’s been a lot of talk about AI and its potential dangers for the worldwide community. However, for one mayor in Japan, the new technology is being embraced as a way to become a full-blown member of that global community, as it enables him to speak fluent English without having to even learn a word of it.

The new technology is being put to use in press conference videos by Yokosuka City Mayor Katsuaki Uechi that are designed to disseminate information to the local community. With Yokosuka being home to Japan’s largest U.S. naval base, the city is keen to increase its English-language communications, incorporating AI into its arsenal by using it to create an avatar of the mayor that speaks fluent English.

▼ The results are mind-blowing, with the first video, released in April, showing just how well it mimics the mayor, matching both his appearance and voice, with the mouth even moving perfectly to match the shape of the English words being spoken.

When the video was first unveiled at a press conference at Yokosuka City Hall on April 23, Mayor Uechi, who says he barely speaks English, told reporters he was impressed by the avatar and the way it made him look like a fluent English speaker. He also expressed his desire for it to do good, with plans for it to share important information regarding disaster prevention measures and to help people during times of disaster, while also presenting it to the world as “a message for peace”.

▼ Don’t be afraid — I come in peace.

Screenshot-2024-06-06-at-10.43.59.png

Yokosuka City says AI learned the appearance, behavior, and voice quality of the mayor in order to create a mayor avatar, and the English-speaking capabilities are achieved once his speech is translated and input into the AI’s generative learning.

Screenshot-2024-06-06-at-10.44.36.png

While the AI mayor will be mostly conducting monthly press conferences, its latest appearance came in May, when the avatar helped to introduce events happening around the city.

The AI mayor will continue to appear on the city’s official YouTube channel, approximately 10 days after the mayor’s monthly Japanese press conferences. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the avatar, not just for information about Yokosuka, but to make sure it doesn’t head over to the dark side. If it does get angry, though, there’s an AI filter to counter that…although that might incite a war between AIs.

Source: Asahi, PR Times, YouTube/横須賀市公式チャンネル

Insert image: PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese telecom giant to make AI filter to soften angry customers voices at call centers【Video】

-- Virtual YouTuber cast as anime voice actress in new anime TV series in industry-first move【Video】

-- Popular Japanese YouTuber is virtual schoolgirl who plays games, has existential crises【Videos】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
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… to create an avatar of the mayor that speaks fluent English.

Might impressive!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Thats really impressive.

10 years ago and I was sure I couldnt be a translator/interpreter forever.

We all need to reinvent ourselves to cope with the new ages.

The key is doing something neither robots or AI will be doing for the next 100 years.

(lawyer, real estate, social services etc.)

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I hope that we don't see the demise of language teachers, interpreters and translators due to AI.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

That professions will disappear very soon..

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

Absolutely incredible. He is flawless! Engrish teachers of Japan, read the air, our days are numbered! Start learning how to cook or something! ;p

3 ( +8 / -5 )

The key is doing something neither robots or AI will be doing for the next 100 years.

(lawyer, real estate, social services etc.)

If those are the industries you are betting on I would advise you to reevaluate your life goals.

https://law.stanford.edu/2023/04/19/gpt-4-passes-the-bar-exam-what-that-means-for-artificial-intelligence-tools-in-the-legal-industry/

Some of the trades and things requiring fine manual dexterity or kinesthetic sense may last a few decades.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

i remember being at the yokohama immigration place getting stamps for a reentry visa (remember those dreadful days?)

a young woman english “teacher” asked me how to spell february.

i’ll bet ai knows how to spell it.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The amount of US English teachers going back to US, will be BIG..

Do you think the majority of English Teachers in Japan are ALL from the US?

And we are not just talking about foreign teachers. Japanese English teachers may also find their livelihoods harmed- not to mention ANYONE who has made ANY foreign language ANYWHERE their livelihood.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

You can’t trust your eyes anymore! Remove the AI tag and no one would think he didn’t say this. It’s very amusing and yet this tech can easily be abused. I hope they will keep an eye on this well.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Isn’t this exactly what we don’t want to be using AI for?

I don’t mean translation, it’s cool.

I mean officials making announcements via an avatar. I think about…5 minutes, someone will put words in his mouth he doesn’t want there.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It won't be long before AI won't even need the human. It can make one, make up anything for it to say, and influence people. Yes, and another job section, teachers, will be out of work like doctors, secretaries, and a plethora of others. AI avatars will be ubiquitous and, at some point, replacing what will then be unnecessary human beings.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don’t be afraid — I come in peace.

LOL! Sounds just like an alien arriving on earth from another planet and speaking perfect English with a strange accent! It appears AI has been digesting too much science fiction! Still, it's harmless stuff and should get some chuckles from native English speakers.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The writing has been on the wall for a long time now. There will always be a market for learning English the traditional way. There are definitely cognitive benefits to learning a language for young children and the elderly. The current industry is going to get a huge overhaul soon. Dont get too upset though, most industries are going to face similar changes.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

It’s great to see all the billions and billions of yen spent on the JET and ALT programs is finally paying dividends!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

A mayor breakthrough! (Sorry)

I think he is creating problems for himself now that people think he is actually fluent in English. Cool technology though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Actually, this is pretty damn amazing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

as it enables him to speak fluent English without having to even learn a word of it.

Yeah well it tells more about him being lazy and intellectually limited.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I hope that we don't see the demise of language teachers, interpreters and translators due to AI.

I don't really worry about seeing a decrease in teachers or language teachers. As much as we push for independent learning, most students need a teacher to discipline and push them. Self-motivation is a hard thing, regardless of age. There is also a certain amount of joy from speaking and understanding a language yourself. I can't see AI replacing this self-fulfillment.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I don't really worry about seeing a decrease in teachers or language teachers. As much as we push for independent learning, most students need a teacher to discipline and push them. Self-motivation is a hard thing, regardless of age. There is also a certain amount of joy from speaking and understanding a language yourself. I can't see AI replacing this self-fulfillment.

Hope you are right max.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Doesn't impress me so very much. Still it's only an avatar which doesn't know at all what it is talking about. Also, what is so very much different to those synchronized movies or morphing software, both already having been used for so many years. I guess the dangers of 'AI' misuse are by far greater than the technological development jump, if there even is any significant one by now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hope you are right max.

I'm older, so I have less time to worry about! :) But on the serious side, today's classes reminded me of just how much fun the students and I had being together, along with all of the individual, personal interactions I shared with many of the students. There is no way AI is going to replace this sort of real human interaction for a long, long time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Max Headroom

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It’s old technology. Even the Klingons used it to speak English.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

While the results are definitely impressive, I am not sure how I would feel about an avatar of me speaking in a language that I don't know. This would imply that I would want to have some comprehension regardless and the value of English teachers aren't exactly threatened imo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When he is met on the street by a group of US soldiers, someone is going to be very disappointed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"The amount of US English teachers going back to US, will be BIG.."

The amount of ALTs. Teachers will be always be needed to staff schools which are not merely places of academic learning, but where the community's children assemble and learn social skills like individual and social responsibility.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Note to self: Never allow anyone to record a video of me ever.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yeah well it tells more about him being lazy and intellectually limited.

Because he is not doing something his job does not require? what do you know about any other abilities the person have. This is as valid as anybody calling you lazy and intellectually limited because you can't do something that other people can, even if you have no use or interest on that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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