Google parent Alphabet's DeepMind division has made what it claims is a big leap forward in making computers sound more human.
The artificial intelligence start-up, bought by Google for £400 million ($532 million) in 2014, outlined in a blog post on Thursday how its new technology is able to make computer-generated speech sound more natural, and it performs better than Google's current solution.
"Allowing people to converse with machines is a long-standing dream of human-computer interaction," DeepMind's blog said.
So far, generating speech with computers – known as text-to-speech (TTS) – is based on a process where a large database of speech fragments are recorded from one person and then combined to create a sentence. This makes modifying voices or adding emotion to computer-generated speech difficult.