Product Updates

Hume Raises $50M Series B and Releases New Empathic Voice Interface

Published on Mar 25, 2024

hume group

◆ Hume AI raised a $50m Series B round led by EQT Ventures and joined by Union Square Ventures, Nat Friedman & Daniel Gross, Metaplanet, Northwell Holdings, Comcast Ventures, and LG Technology Ventures.

◆ The company is unveiling its new flagship product, an Empathic Voice Interface (EVI). The conversational voice-to-voice AI knows when users are finished speaking and learns to generate vocal responses optimized for user satisfaction. EVI is powered by a new form of multimodal generative AI called an empathic large language model (eLLM) developed by Hume.

Hume AI is delighted to announce its $50m Series B! The round was led by EQT Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Nat Friedman & Daniel Gross, Metaplanet, Northwell Holdings, Comcast Ventures, and LG Technology Ventures also joined the round.

In conjunction with today's Series B announcement, Hume is launching its Empathic Voice Interface (EVI), a first-of-its-kind conversational AI with emotional intelligence. EVI is trained on data from millions of human interactions and uses vocal tones to understand when users finish speaking, predict their preferences, and optimize responses for satisfaction over time. 

AI voice products have the potential to revolutionize our interaction with technology.  However their often stilted and mechanical responses act as barriers to truly immersive conversations. The goal with EVI is to provide the basis for engaging voice-first experiences that emulate the natural speech patterns of human conversation.

Chat with EVI:

EVI uses a new form of multimodal generative AI that integrates large language models (LLMs) with expression measures, which Hume refers to as an empathic large language model (eLLM). Our eLLM enables EVI to adjust the words it uses and its tone of voice based on the context and the user’s emotional expressions. Developers will be able to integrate voice-first experiences into any application with a few lines of code. EVI will be publicly available in April, sign-up here for updates:

Learn about the features that make EVI a human-like conversationalist

  • A universal voice interface, a single API for transcription, frontier LLMs, and text-to-speech.
  • End-of-turn detection, uses your tone of voice for state-of-the-art end-of-turn detection, eliminating awkward overlaps.
  • Interruptibility, stops speaking when interrupted and starts listening, just like a human.
  • Responds to expression, understands the natural ups and downs in pitch & tone used to convey meaning beyond words. 
  • Expressive TTS, generates the right tone of voice to respond with natural, expressive speech. 
  • Aligned with your application, learns from users' reactions to self-improve by optimizing for happiness and satisfaction.

Hume continues its dedication to the development of safe and responsible AI through The Hume Initiative, a nonprofit that brings together AI researchers, ethicists, social scientists, and legal scholars to develop ethical guidelines for empathic AI. 

Alan Cowen, CEO and Chief Scientist, sees empathic AI as essential to aligning AI with human well-being: 

“The main limitation of current AI systems is that they’re guided by superficial human ratings and instructions, which are error-prone and fail to tap into AI’s vast potential to come up with new ways to make people happy. By building AI that learns directly from proxies of human happiness, we’re effectively teaching it to reconstruct human preferences from first principles and then update that knowledge with every new person it talks to and every new application it’s embedded in.”

Today’s announcement follows a period of exciting growth for Hume. Over the past year, Hume launched two key products: the Expression Measurement API, an advanced toolkit for measuring human emotional expression, and Custom Models, which uses transfer learning on those measurements to predict human preferences. Additionally, Hume grew its foundational databases to include naturalistic data from over a million diverse participants, doubled its headcount from 15 to 30 employees and published over eight academic articles in top journals. 

Funding will accelerate Hume’s growth into a global player in the generative AI space and cement empathic AI as an industry standard. The capital will be allocated to scale Hume’s team, accelerate its AI research, and continue the development of its empathic voice interface. Interested in helping us build the future of empathic AI, apply here:


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