AI can turn spoken language into photorealistic sign language videos

Image from NewScientist

Newscientist website published an article regarding an Artificial Intelligence (AI) that “can produce photorealistic videos of sign language interpreters from speech could improve accessibility by removing the need for humans.”

According to the site, Ben Saunders at the University of Surrey, UK, and his colleagues used a neural network that converts spoken language into sign language. The system, called SignGAN, then maps these signs on to a 3D model of the human skeleton.

Although I consider this as a very remarkable development in AI, this technology may still be far off due to many aspects that need to be considered such as language idiosyncrasy, facial expression and idiomatic peculiarities. But what really worries me is my fear of eventually “removing the need for sign language interpreters.

Still this development is a step in the right direction. We cannot prevent advancement of technologies unless we suppress science. You may view the entire news article by clicking on the link below.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2261113-ai-can-turn-spoken-language-into-photorealistic-sign-language-videos/

Note: The website is a paid site. You need to subscribe to get unlimited access. 🙂

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Online Smartphone Photography Training for the Deaf

As part of the Philippines’ annual celebration of “Deaf Awareness Week” from November 10 to 16, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) conducted the Online Training on Smartphone Photography for the Deaf.

This activity is one of the latest ones spearheaded by the newly appointed Executive Director and my good friend, Sir Emer Rojas.

The online training was held on November 19 and was published live on Facebook. You may catch the more than three-hour lecture with sign language interpreting by clicking on the video below. Cheers!

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Congress files bill declaring FSL and Deaf Week every September

House Representative Alfred Vargas of Quezon City recently filed House Bill No. 7753 declaring the last full week of September of every year as the “National Week of the Deaf” and September 23 as “Filipino Sign Language Day.”
On its official Facebook post, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf announced this news and offered its sincerest gratitude to Congressman Vargas who authored this bill.

Congressman Alfred Vargas

The bill was filed in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities and the international advocacy of the World Federation of the Deaf.  It’s purpose is to
instill public awareness of the human rights situation of the Filipino Deaf, in line with the International Week of the Deaf… and for the purpose of promoting recognition and acceptance of Filipino Sign Language as a symbol of the need of the deaf for inclusion and as a reminder of individual’s and the state’s duty to accord due respect to people who are deaf and their linguistic and cultural identity, in line with the International Day of Sign Languages.
The bill is now pending with the Committee on PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES since September 29. You may get the full text of the bill by going to the official website of the Philippine House of Representatives here in PDF Format.
This humble blogger salutes Cong. Alfred Vargas for recognizing us and our cause. Let us support him by thanking him for this advocacy by commenting to his official Facebook page. Mabuhay po kayo!

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Court overturns graft conviction vs Ex-governor Grace Padaca

The Philippines’ Sandiganbayan, a special appellate collegial court in the Philippines that has jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases involving graft and corrupt practices and other offenses committed by public officers and employees, has reversed the graft conviction against the former governor of Isabela Province, Grace Padaca.

Isabela Governor Grace Padaca
Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, Photo from CNN Philippines

Here is a repost from the original news article published by the CNN Philippines dated September 20, 2020.

Sandiganbayan overturns graft conviction vs. ex-Isabela governor Padaca

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20)— The Sandiganbayan has reversed the graft conviction against former Isabela governor Grace Padaca over the granting of a P25 million fund to a foundation for the province’s rice program.

In a decision dated June 23 but which surfaced over the weekend, the anti-graft court’s third division granted Padaca’s motion for reconsideration, reversing the graft charge due to the prosecution’s “failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.”

The anti-graft court in 2019 sentenced Padaca to 12 to 14 years for malversation and six to 10 years for graft. She was also ordered to pay the Isabela government a fine of P18 million.

Padaca’s motion for her malversation case was meanwhile denied due to lack of merit.

Despite this, the former official said she was thankful for the “positive development.”

Noong June 23,2020, nag-desisyon ang Sandiganbayan na ipawalang sala ako sa isa sa dalawang cases against me… Sa totoo lang, hindi na ako umasa noon na babaligtarin pa ng mga judge ang desisyon nila laban sa akin, but I am thankful for this new and positive development,” Padaca wrote on her social media account.

[Translation: Last June 23, 2020, the Sandiganbayan decided to acquit me in one of the two cases against me. The truth is, I was not expecting that the judge will reverse their decisions against me, but I am thankful for this new and positive development.]

The Sandiganbayan also ordered the lifting of the hold departure order against Padaca.

Padaca earlier denied receiving an amount from the million-peso fund. She maintained that Isabela’s provincial council authorized the memorandum of agreement she entered with the foundation for the program.

Governor Grace has been the most searched Filipino Person With Disability in my blog. I am always monitoring happenings on her life. This turn of events proves that the good governor is innocent of the crimes hurled against her. Mabuhay po kayo and Congratulations, Gov Grace!

Here is the link to the original post.

World boxing champ greets everyone on sign language day

Philippine Senator and eight-time World Boxing Champion Manny Pacquiao sends his greetings on the International Day of Sign Languages through a video message.

On his Official Facebook Page, he posted this message,

In celebration of the International Day of Sign Language, I join the Global Leaders Challenge that seeks to promote the use of sign languages. This pandemic, let us learn the importance of linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. How about starting with the basic sign language?#GlobalLeadersChallenge

Here is the entire video message greeting of Senator Manny.

Mabuhay po kayo, Senator Manny! Thank you very much for supporting the cause of the Filipino Deaf. Happy International Day of Sign Languages 2020!

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