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New York City noise pollution is a serious issue, and New York University researchers need your help to fight it.
New York City is noisy, and that fact is more than just an annoyance — it’s a public health concern. New York University researchers are trying to mitigate noise pollution in the five boroughs, but first, they need your help.
NYU researchers are calling on New Yorkers to sign up as “citizen scientists” for their project Sounds of New York City.
“Sounds of New York City is a project to monitor, analyze and mitigate urban noise pollution, and we’re taking what we call a cyber-physical approach to doing this,” said Mark Cartwright, a researcher with NYU’s Music and Audio Research Laboratory.
The physical part has to do with acoustic sensors that have been placed around the city and transmit audio recordings from high-noise environments. The cyber component comes in with machine listening models, which will identify what is the cause of the noise pollution.
Before that can happen, though, NYU needs volunteers to train those machine listening models.
People actually power a lot of machine learning, Cartwright explained, because before artificial intelligence can work on its own, it has to be taught which patterns to look for.
“We need a lot of labeled data that will say, ‘oh in this recording there are these different types of sounds,’ ‘there’s jackhammer in this recording, and a fire engine,’” he said. “Once we’ve plucked a lot of examples of that data, we can train our machine listening models to identify different labels assigned to the sources [of noise].”