The Technologist reports:
"Whether it’s your GPS, your smartphone or the smart fridge updating you on your groceries, any gadget will soon be able to speak in the voice of your choice. This is the aim of CandyVoice, a French start-up working on an algorithm with Microsoft. “The technology isn’t very complicated”, says Matthias Althoff at the Technical University of Munich. ... Reading 160 short sentences out loud gives the algorithm enough material to imitate your own voice on different devices. … Tschiatschek worries about the potential for abuse by people who might pretend to be someone else on the telephone. ...
Long-term exposure to transportation noise increases the risk of hypertension, ischaemic heart diseases, tinnitus, cognitive impairment in children, sleep disturbance and annoyance. Studies have shown that noise levels above 65 decibels – think heavy traffic at a distance of 50 to 100 m – increase the risk of stroke by 20–40%. At these levels the risk of heart disease is also 20% higher than for people living in quieter areas. By comparison, a typical conversation takes place at about 60 decibels.
The World Health Organization has calculated that in Western Europe more than one million healthy years of life are lost every year due to traffic noise. This means that long-term exposure to traffic noise is, after air pollution, the main environment-related health stressor, compromising quality of life and indirectly the life expectancy of millions of people across Europe. …
[on cars] At speeds above 50 km/h, tyres rather than engines are the main source of noise. And above 130 km/h, aerodynamic noise dominates."