Part I: Restoring the Past
Part II: Rebuilding Speech
Part III: What’s Missing?
Part IV: Better = Cheaper
I have long wondered why we see a proliferation of video cameras without sound capture. Sound is fundamentally cheaper to capture and there are many potential benefits of capturing the sounds of public spaces, with or without video:Traffic monitoringAssessment of road conditions — the sound of tires on pavements directly depends on the amount of water or snow on the road surfaceEstimation of weather — wind, rain and lightning have distinctive soundsLocalization of loud vehicles, drones and aircraftDetection and localization of explosions, gunshots, and other anomalies.
In fact, with the wide adoption of deep learning methods, we have even more powerful tools for extracting this kind of information from the cacophony of sounds found in public. And since microphones are much less expensive and audio recordings are so much lower bandwidth, a mesh of microphones in public spaces could be a cost-effective source of priceless insights to make our environment safer, healthier, and more efficient. And the same potential exists for recording in the home, on the factory floor, in transportation systems, in office settings, hospitals and other complex environments.
So why don’t we do it? Principally because it is illegal!
In most jurisdictions around the world, it is forbidden to record a private conversation — even one in a public space — unless some or all participants in the conversation consent to recording. ...