The Quest for True Voice AI: But has OpenAI GPT-4o truly nailed real-time?

If the latest AI voice demos from OpenAI and Google are any indication, we’re finally bucking the frustrating trends of voice assistants that can’t really…well, assist. The future looks like AI models that actually listen and engage in seamless back-and-forth conversation. Yeah, it’s taking entirely too long, but hey — better late than never, right?

The marquee showcase has been OpenAI’s wildly hyped GPT-4o demo, which revealed an uncannily human-like voice assistant able to banter with zero awkward pauses. Similarly, Google’s flashy Astra demo flaunted strikingly smooth voice interactions, leaving audiences awed over the leaps in AI’s conversational IQ.

At the core of these next-gen voice breakthroughs? Deep learning models trained to understand context and nuances often lost on current voice AIs. I’m talking about grasping tone, inferring intent mid-sentence, and maintaining a conversational flow sans any robotic hiccups.
The secret sauce seems to be massively improved language models adept at streaming inputs in real-time rather than simple turn-based call-and-response, ditch the clunkiness, mimic how humans actually converse.

“End to end voice models provide a vastly superior experience by understanding the emotions in speech and responding with emotional context. They can engage in rapid-fire back-and-forth — smoothly allowing interruptions, interjections, all that good stuff,” explains Wenhao Huang, model technology partner at Kai-Fu Lee’s startup 01.AI. “It’s about capturing all the subtle dynamics that make conversations feel human.”

Of course, Huang notes there’s still clear room for improvement, even with behemoths like OpenAI and Google leading the charge. He suspects GPT-4o demo likely employed “an extremely optimized turn-based method simulating real-time interaction” rather than true continuous streaming models.

“In the demo, the bot doesn’t proactively interrupt the user. There are still clear lags where the model seems to be waiting for a pause before responding,” Huang explains. “Truly seamless models need specialized data representations for constant streaming inputs, which impacts both inference and training.”

So we’re not quiiiiite there yet. But let’s be real — compared to the awkward pauses, mishearing gaffes, and conversational brick walls we’ve dealt with from Alexa and pals, these AI demo glimpses are pure mana.

It may take a little more time to perfect all the nuances, but voice AI has clearly turned a corner. Soon, our AI assistants might finally start, y’know, assisting. And actually understanding us mid-sentence?

Latest

Microsoft Hits Pause on Copilot+ Recall Feature, Prioritizing Security and User Experience

That has left some feeling a tinge of disappointment,...

Apple Doubles Down on Privacy and On-Device Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024

In a move that caught many by surprise, Apple...

Microsoft scrambles to address privacy worries with its Copilot+ PCs’ Recall feature

Looks like Microsoft has some 'splaining to do when...

NVIDIA Project G-Assist AI Play at Computex Feels Like an Inflection Point

After a whirlwind week at Computex getting the inside...

Newsletter

Don't miss

Microsoft Hits Pause on Copilot+ Recall Feature, Prioritizing Security and User Experience

That has left some feeling a tinge of disappointment,...

Apple Doubles Down on Privacy and On-Device Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024

In a move that caught many by surprise, Apple...

Microsoft scrambles to address privacy worries with its Copilot+ PCs’ Recall feature

Looks like Microsoft has some 'splaining to do when...

NVIDIA Project G-Assist AI Play at Computex Feels Like an Inflection Point

After a whirlwind week at Computex getting the inside...

Intel Lunar Lake Processors Are Built for the AI Revolution

Intel is betting big on Lunar Lake to power...
ScottCharles
ScottCharles
Scott Charles is a professional writer and contributor for Gizmoweek. An avid collector of all things Apple watch, cool gadgets, phones.

Microsoft Hits Pause on Copilot+ Recall Feature, Prioritizing Security and User Experience

That has left some feeling a tinge of disappointment, Microsoft has announced a delay in the general release of the much-hyped Recall feature for...

Apple Doubles Down on Privacy and On-Device Apple Intelligence at WWDC 2024

In a move that caught many by surprise, Apple unveiled a slew of powerful new AI capabilities coming to its products and services later...

Microsoft scrambles to address privacy worries with its Copilot+ PCs’ Recall feature

Looks like Microsoft has some 'splaining to do when it comes to the Recall feature on its shiny new Copilot+ PCs. The AI-powered "photographic...