Microsoft Teams is using AI to prevent awkward interruptions in video calls


Microsoft might soon mitigate some of the worst nuisances in video chats. The Verge notes Microsoft is rolling out AI-based voice quality upgrades that should help every call participant hear each other clearly. New machine learning models can not only cancel echoes, but even reduce the chances of awkward interruptions by eliminating echo-related overlaps. This won’t stop rude people from hijacking the conversation, but it might help you raise an important point without completely disrupting someone else’s train of thought.

The machine learning technology counters echoes by using a combination of roughly 100,000 simulated rooms and training from 30,000 hours of speech. Microsoft also paid regular Teams users to record their voices to help recognize thousands of different devices. And crucially, the processing happens on your device. This helps Microsoft cut costs, of course, but also makes sure the echo reduction happens quickly and across a wider range of users.

The feature is live now following months of testing. It comes in tandem with a few other upgrades, including AI improvements for bandwidth-limited video calls and optimizations for displaying text. This by itself probably won’t make you choose Teams over rivals like Zoom or Google Meet, but it might tip the balance if virtual meetings are commonplace at your workplace.

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