Cannes Lions

Hear My Love

F5, Shanghai / WEBANK / 2018

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Hear My Love is an AI speaker that tell stories to children, in the voice of the father or the mother.

It uses voice recognition technology; utilizing deep neural networks to re-create the voice of the parent(s). First, speech fragments from either the father or mother are recorded. We feed these fragments to the deep neural networks that analyze the speech patterns and recreate more representations of them in different tonalities and complexities.

Finally, a Text-To-Speech system is created using the voice of the originator (father or mother). The AI system is then housed in a custom-built speaker.

When the father or mother activates the speaker from thousands of kilometers away, the system is able to tell any story (in the voice of its originator) provided the story text is available.


The project started from November of 2017.

WeBank located the left-behind children's parents in the cities where they work, and invited them to a recording session.

A tech team obtained voice fragments from them which is then fed into Tencent’s neural networks to create representations in different tonalities and complexities. The AI system can replicate their voices, and make these voices read out sentences and stories, as long as the text is available.

In January of 2018, the AI system is housed in custom-built speakers which are then given to left-behind children in Lijiang County, where is 2900Km away from Shanghai.


WeBank aims to create and distribute 3000 AI speakers in 2018 more across China and create a conversation about the impact of rural-to-urban migration and how it affects the future generation of China.

Online conversation about this issue was seeded on social media by key opinion leaders and WeBank. On Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter), people are beginning to express appreciation and empathy to migrant workers. The project was shared on both Weibo and WeChat, gaining traction as time goes. There’s recognition for the relatively new WeBank as a bank that uses its financial clout to innovatively alleviate societal issues.

Most importantly, Hear My Love shines the spotlight on an issue that China forgets - in the rush for development, the rural areas are emptying into urban cities at a cost that China cannot afford to pay.

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