Personal Assistant Systems


Amazon ordered to give Alexa evidence in double murder case

The Independent

An Amazon Echo smart speaker could provide crucial evidence in a double murder case in the US after a judge in New Hampshire ordered the tech giant to provide investigators with recordings from the device. The speaker, which features the artificial intelligence voice assistant Alexa, was seized from a home in Farmington where two women were killed in January 2017. Timothy Verrill, 36, is charged with killing Christine Sullivan and Jenna Pellegrini by stabbing each woman multiple times. Judge Steven M Houran wrote in the court order that an Echo device present in the home may have captured audio that could provide key evidence in the case. How Alexa recorded a family's conversation then sent it to someone How Alexa recorded a family's conversation then sent it to someone "The court finds there is probable cause to believe the server[s] and/or records maintained for or by Amazon.com


Microsoft releases its redesigned Cortana app for iOS

Engadget

Microsoft has released its updated Cortana app for iOS, which includes a design overhaul and new features, including music and podcasts support, an option to set up Cortana-enabled devices and a so-called conversational experience for the voice assistant. Those might prove especially useful for those who buy Microsoft's Surface Headphones, which will ship next week. Cortana 3.0 has deeper integration with other Microsoft services too. It ties into your email, calendar, reminders, meetings and To Dos, while you can use Cortana to join Skype and Teams meetings. The Cortana 3.0 beta landed on both iOS and Android last month, so it's unlikely Android users will have to wait too much longer to get their hands on the updated app.


One of Google Assistant's most popular features is getting more useful

ZDNet

Google on Wednesday announced a series of updates to Google Assistant, including an improvement to broadcast, one of the AI-powered assistant's most popular features. The new updates come ahead of the holiday shopping season, when Google's Assistant-enabled devices -- like the Google Home Hub -- will go toe-to-toe with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices. The broadcast feature lets you send a message from your phone to smart speakers and smart displays in your home. Now, the recipients of those messages can reply from a smart display or smart speaker, delivering a message back to your phone. The reply will trigger a notification on your phone, and the message will be transcribed.


Alexa, nuke the popcorn, heat up the coffee:' We review Amazon's $59.99 microwave

USATODAY

Just like a bad break up, we point out the flaws that Amazon saw in your city's bid for their second headquarters. But Amazon's digital assistant does assume the role of a vocally-driven kitchen helper as you reheat a plate, defrost foods, and otherwise prepare a meal with the previously announced but just now available AmazonBasics Microwave. I've been cooking with it for a couple of days, and find the $59.99 price--and to some degree the use of voice--appetizing. As with any other compact countertop microwave, you can press on a keypad to choose power levels--there are ten--or the length of time you'll be nuking the item you've placed inside. But where's the fun in that when you can get Alexa to do everything at your behest?


Should you bet on these retail innovations?

#artificialintelligence

The widely predicted adoption of virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR) in the consumer experience may have yet to be fully realized, but all retailers must look to the future in order to stay competitive. You need only look to the demise of market giants like Toys R Us or The Limited to remember what happens when you don't. These days, innovation comes in many forms. Experimentation with voice-commerce through smart home assistants Alexa, Google Home, and Siri has been one notable area, as have fully automated stores like Amazon Go. Who is really leading the charge in organic innovation?


Furhat the eerie lifelike robotic head is stumped by people with BOTOX

Daily Mail

A robot that communicates with humans via facial expressions and understands people by scanning their face has been stumped when it met a person with botox. Furhat Robotics unveiled its'world's most advanced social robotics and conversational artificial intelligence platform' last week. The android can communicate with humans in the way we do with each other - by speaking, listening, showing emotions and reading changes to facial features. The Stockholm-based start-up were left scratching their heads when one test subject completely threw the eerily-lifelike robot. A Furhat insider said: 'We were at a loss as to why one of our robots wasn't interacting properly with a human test subject.


Jimmy Fallon will tell you bad jokes on your Amazon Echo

Mashable

Want the voice of one of the most annoying men in America to tell you even more annoying jokes? Jimmy Fallon unveiled a new partnership with Amazon on his Tonight Show on Monday. For the next month, if Echo users ask Alexa to "tell me a joke," she'll introduce her "friend Jimmy." SEE ALSO: Amazon Echo Dot (2018) review: Alexa's gateway drug is more potent than ever "Jimmy" will then deliver the groaners. Fallon is not the first celeb to collaborate with the mega-corporation behind a smart assistant.


How smart companies use voice and bots to get and keep more customers

#artificialintelligence

AI voice assistants are more capable than ever of helping consumers shop smart. That means your marketing efforts will have to shift priorities in a major way to capture their attention. To hear about actual voice chat use cases, how to leverage voice and bots right now and more, don't miss this VB Live event! Ding dong, it soon may be time to start thinking of google as near-dead in the water. The day is coming where marketers will have to redirect the time, energy, and laser focus on search engine optimization, and the millions of dollars spent on buying keywords and relevant content, to voice interfaces.


Pandora's podcast recommendation engine launches in beta today

Engadget

Pandora made its interest in podcasting clear several times this year. Now, the music-streaming company is ready to announce the "Podcast Genome Project," a tool that's both a cataloging system and recommendation algorithm for spoken audio programs. Much like the company's existing Music Genome Project, which categorizes music on hundreds of characteristics to make recommendations to listeners, the Podcast Genome Project (which I'm now abbreviating to PGP). As of today, the PGP is in public beta. For starters, the PGP analyzes and makes recommendations for podcasts based on "over 1,500" attributes, although we don't yet know what sort of characteristics it uses to categorize different shows.


It's the 'beginning of the end' for smartphones, new report finds

Daily Mail

It is the'beginning of the end' for traditional smartphones, according to an annual technology report. Analysts believe that something entirely different may supplant the smartphone such as smart rings, bracelets and glasses. Even as top makers like Apple and Samsung unveil new handsets with improved performance, overall sales have flattened with most major markets largely saturated, the report found. In just over a decade, smartphones have become the hottest-selling consumer device around the world. The next catalyst for smartphones could be the possibilities offered by the forthcoming 5G, or fifth generation wireless networks, new form factors or advances in virtual and augmented reality.