Vineet Gandhi


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Empathic Machines: Using Intermediate Features as Levers to Emulate Emotions in Text-To-Speech Systems
Saiteja Kosgi | Sarath Sivaprasad | Niranjan Pedanekar | Anil Nelakanti | Vineet Gandhi
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

We present a method to control the emotional prosody of Text to Speech (TTS) systems by using phoneme-level intermediate features (pitch, energy, and duration) as levers. As a key idea, we propose Differential Scaling (DS) to disentangle features relating to affective prosody from those arising due to acoustics conditions and speaker identity. With thorough experimental studies, we show that the proposed method improves over the prior art in accurately emulating the desired emotions while retaining the naturalness of speech. We extend the traditional evaluation of using individual sentences for a more complete evaluation of HCI systems. We present a novel experimental setup by replacing an actor with a TTS system in offline and live conversations. The emotion to be rendered is either predicted or manually assigned. The results show that the proposed method is strongly preferred over the state-of-the-art TTS system and adds the much-coveted “human touch” in machine dialogue. Audio samples from our experiments and the code are available at:

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Comprehensive Multi-Modal Interactions for Referring Image Segmentation
Kanishk Jain | Vineet Gandhi
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

We investigate Referring Image Segmentation (RIS), which outputs a segmentation map corresponding to the natural language description. Addressing RIS efficiently requires considering the interactions happening across visual and linguistic modalities and the interactions within each modality. Existing methods are limited because they either compute different forms of interactions sequentially (leading to error propagation) or ignore intra-modal interactions. We address this limitation by performing all three interactions simultaneously through a Synchronous Multi-Modal Fusion Module (SFM). Moreover, to produce refined segmentation masks, we propose a novel Hierarchical Cross-Modal Aggregation Module (HCAM), where linguistic features facilitate the exchange of contextual information across the visual hierarchy. We present thorough ablation studies and validate our approach’s performance on four benchmark datasets, showing considerable performance gains over the existing state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods.