AI and Pro Audio

AI and Pro Audio

By Stefan Marti

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the audio industry. At least, that’s what we’ve heard lately — AI is creating new music, making it possible for your two favorite artists to release a collaboration, or even produce and release a brand-new song by The Beatles that had never been created before. What if we look to AI as a tool to enhance our products with new and innovative capabilities, or a tool that can help create even better listening experiences for the customer? We know what AI is, and we know what it might be capable of. But how can AI help create better experiences?

The inventor of AI, Marvin Minsky, once said that one day, every single device would have the “commonsense chip” — a chip that grants the ability to understand human reasoning and commonsense. As audio devices continue to develop and we continue to introduce new capabilities, many expect these tools to have that commonsense understanding, so that the technology can work in the best way possible for our end-users.

Making Complex Devices Work for Your User

Ideally, manufacturers create smart devices that users can easily understand. Conferencing solutions should be incredibly complex, intelligent devices — but with simplified implementation in mind. It is critical that these devices can adapt to specific environments, whether it is a typical conference room or a large university classroom setting that requires many more devices in one space. Regardless of the intended use, it’s necessary that these devices are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to incorporating the next-generation technologies of the future.

Conferencing solutions that use complex, intelligent technologies to adapt to specific scenarios are ideal. To bring these devices to the next level for the user, the goal is to increase the immersion factor. At Shure, we are seeing an increase in immersive technologies, spurned by the use of AI in these audio-centric devices; the usability of each product is highly dependent on its ability to create the intended experience for the user. These immersive technologies are beginning to pop up across the market, but it is fundamentally the same use of AI and virtual reality devices that are becoming part of the typical experience. When we build today’s conferencing solutions, we are cognizant of what new technologies have emerged and what will play a critical role in creating even more immersive experiences for users.

Socially Intelligent for The Consumer

We must start with the consumer, or the customer. We want to consider what our customer wants — how do they intend to use the device, what will truly make the difference in the longevity of the device for the specified use? These are the questions we must ask our customers to determine what the next generation of innovation will involve. No one wants to throw new technology at every tried-and-true device in the hope that it sticks, but rather recognize how we can create the most exceptional experiences, while continuously delivering the quality audio that users can count on.

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As we see conferencing solutions become more aware of their surroundings (thanks to intelligent technology like AI), we must also consider the social intelligence of the devices. Using the example of a conferencing solution, ideally, the device is able to recognize who is physically in the room, who is remote, who is speaking at any given time, and where the attention needs to be. With devices that can essentially read the room as well as a human can, we’ll have the most user-friendly and experience-driven device on the market. With this technology, the room is able to react and proactively adapt to a scenario in the same way a human sitting in a conference room would.

Beyond transferring audio from a computer to a speakerphone, or from a mouth to a microphone, we will see systems that are capable of creating immersive experiences for the user. The tech will no longer need direction from the user, rather it will absorb its environment for an ultimately seamless experience that feels free of technology.

What’s Next? Exploring The Future of AI and Audio

So, what’s next for AI and audio? How will AI play an increased role in audio, if at all? So many new experiences are created in the domain of AI. Research and development departments around the world are focused on uncovering the next new exponential technology. But it is not an industry that is easy to predict. No one knows exactly what the future will hold, let alone the future of AI and audio. I will leave you with this – learn and recognize what tools will be most important to your end-user, and rely on user data. How are they using your technology, and how do they want to use the technology? Ask your users this and create for them. Instead of following the trend, you are setting the tone for what the trend will be.

Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Appreciation Day, which is held annually on July 16. Click here to read more AI Day stories from rAVe [PUBS] and click here to read more AI Day stories from LAVNCH [CODE].

Stefan Marti

Stefan Marti

About the Author: Stefan Marti is AVP for Strategic Technologies at Shure, where he is responsible for ensuring a steady pipeline of research and innovations. Marti has over 17 years of experience in the audio industry. He specializes in UX, AR and ML and is well versed in iterative design methods and parallel project execution. At Shure, Marti is responsible for creating a competitive advantage through innovation, with the goal to prototype concepts for potentially strategic technologies. Prior to Shure, Marti served as vice president of future experience and AI at HARMAN.