Representation & Reasoning

Cortana's big challenge: Catching up to Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant


When Google wowed the tech world with its demo of Duplex -- the tech that allows its digital Assistant make phone calls to perform mundane tasks like booking haircuts or making restaurant reservations -- Microsoft's Cortana chief was impressed, but not worried. "The technologist in me had no choice but to feel impressed," Javier Soltero, Microsoft corporate vice president of Cortana, told me in a far-ranging discussion about voice technology for Mashable's MashTalk podcast. "The idea that a computer can generate a voice with the right processes, right inflection, all of the right things to mimic humans, is amazing to see in practice, but not entirely surprising." But Soltero didn't immediately think, "We need to do something similar with Cortana so we can catch up to what they're doing." In fact, the Google Duplex demo emphasized just how different the two companies' approaches to voice technology are.

Tomorrow's Digital Transformation Battles Will Be Fought at the Edge


Gartner's recently released "Magic Quadrant for Industrial IoT Platforms" outlines how organizations can leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive their digital transformation initiatives. In particular, Gartner believes that "By 2020, on-premises Internet of Things (IoT) platforms coupled with edge computing will account for up to 60% of industrial IoT (IIoT) analytics, up from less than 10% today."[1] More real-time sensor and device data coupled with more computational power are driving analytics "to the edge", which will yield new business and operational monetization opportunities for organizations looking to become more effective at leveraging data and analytics to power their business models (see Figure 1). IoT will be a significant Digital Transformation enabler – enabling new opportunities to integrate digital capabilities into the organization's assets, products and operational processes in order to improve efficiency, enhance customer value, mitigate risk, and uncover new monetization opportunities. IoT value creation occurs when the IoT Analytics collide with IoT Applications (like predictive maintenance, manufacturing performance optimization, waste reduction, reducing obsolete and excessive inventory, and first-time-fix) to deliver measurable sources of business and operational value (see Figure 2).

AI Application in Insurance Industry - The Fintech Times


Many insurers are investing in AI beyond MLwhich is one of its subfield. Opportunities range from an enhanced Customer Experience (reduced cycle time, personalized advisors through chatbots, fast track Claims management), to productivity efficiency, pricing sophistication, churn risk anticipation and accurate Fraud detection patterns. Insurers can either build internal capabilities, partner with start-ups on these fields or do both to accelerate time to market impacts. AI is a great enabler. Nevertheless, the right balance between human contacts and AI is key.

Google Assistant update adds Continued Conversations to listen for follow-up commands

Daily Mail

Google has made a crucial tweak to its AI assistant to make interactions more conversational. The company has ditched the need to use the wake phrase'OK, Google' or'Hey Google' to signal the start of a follow-up voice command for the talkative personal assistant. After an initial request, Google Assistant can now use artificial intelligence to try to discern whether you are addressing the smart speaker with a fresh query, or simply talking to someone else nearby. However, to do this, the assistant has to send the audio recording to its servers for analysis, which could threaten your privacy, according to security experts. The optional feature, dubbed Continued Conversations, can now be enabled for Google Home, Home Mini, and Home Max owners in the United States.

UC Irvine Deep Learning Machine Teaches Itself To Solve A Rubik's Cube


Anyone who has lived through the 1980s knows how maddeningly difficult it is to solve a Rubik's Cube, and to accomplish the feat without peeling the stickers off and rearranging them. Apparently the six-sided contraption presents a special kind of challenge to modern deep learning techniques that makes it more difficult than, say, learning to play chess or Go. That used to be the case, anyway. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have developed a new deep learning technique that can teach itself to solve the Rubik's Cube. What they come up with is very different than an algorithm designed to solve the toy from any position.

Does The Future Of Dating Hinge On Facebook

Forbes Technology

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently sent a small shockwave through the online dating industry when he announced Facebook's plans to roll out dating features at Facebook's F8 conference back in May; shares in dating-giant Match Group immediately plummeted by 16%. Fast forward to today, 22nd June, and investors' initial (and perhaps somewhat knee-jerk) concerns that Facebook would swiftly usurp existing dating apps as the go-to app seem to have been allayed, with Match's share price since recovering. In fact, the announcement itself has generally been welcomed by all the major online dating players. So undeterred were Match Group that they decided to buy a controlling stake in Hinge earlier this week, doubling down on their strategy of acquiring competitor dating brands in spite of the announcement.

Microsoft's new visual search: Now you can use your phone's camera to search web


Video: Google Assistant vs Siri vs Bing: This IQ test shows which is smarter. Microsoft has unveiled its answer Google Lens in the form of Bing visual search, which lets you take a snap from your phone and search for it on the web. And just as Google rolled out Lens to every Android user via the Google Photos app, Microsoft will use its existing apps to speed up the rollout. For users in the US, visual search is now part of the Bing app for iOS and Android, the Android version of the Microsoft Launcher, and Edge for Android. The feature could come in handy, say, on a trek when you find a flower or animal and would like to know its name but lack the words to search for it.

IBM, DOE unveil 'world's fastest' AI supercomputer


Called Summit, the supercomputer has a peak performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second (or 200 petaflops), and is eight times more powerful than the lab's previous top-ranked system, Titan. For some scientific applications, says ORNL, Summit will be capable of more than three billion billion mixed-precision calculations per second, providing unprecedented computing power for research in energy, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), and other domains, enabling scientific discoveries that were previously impractical or impossible. "Today's launch of the Summit supercomputer demonstrates the strength of American leadership in scientific innovation and technology development," said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on the announcement. "It's going to have a profound impact in energy research, scientific discovery, economic competitiveness and national security." "I am truly excited by the potential of Summit, as it moves the nation one step closer to the goal of delivering an exascale supercomputing system by 2021." said Perry.

"OK Google" No Longer Needed Before Everything You Say To The Assistant. Here's How To Set It Up

Forbes Technology

Continued Conversation arrives for Google Home devices in the US. The Google Assistant has many strengths but one of its great weaknesses is that you have to precede every interaction with the "Hey Google" or "OK Google" wake-up call. Google promised a solution in the form of Continued Conversation at last May's I/O conference and now it's finally rolling out to Google's line of Home devices in the US. You can talk to the Assistant as long as you like without preceding every query by a wake-up phrase if Continued Conversation is toggled on. An interaction with the Assistant must still be started with a wake-up call but after that, the Assistant will remain active waiting for another command.

Commentary: When machines make decisions on our behalf, fears of redundancy, new questions emerge


SINGAPORE: Robotics and Artificial intelligence (AI) are here to stay. AI applications are not just helping businesses become more efficient, they are more frequently visible in our everyday lives. Consider virtual assistants such as Nanyang Technological University's humanoid robot receptionist Nadine, and robotic instructors, known as RoboCoaches, that lead fitness classes for the elderly, demonstrate exercises, and offer encouragement here in Singapore. Not to mention the increasingly prevalent role of Alexa, Siri and Cortana in our lives. READ: The rise of artificial intelligence and how lives will forever be changed, the Big Read.