Speech


Salesforce intros Einstein Voice, an AI voice assistant for enterprises

ZDNet

Salesforce has released details about a forthcoming AI capability from its Einstein artificial intelligence platform that aims to meld conversational voice assistants with enterprise sales workflows. With Einstein Voice, users will be able to verbally talk to the Salesforce platform to perform a range of administrative tasks, such as note dictation and data entry. As with all Salesforce products, Einstein Voice is specifically tailored to busy salespeople, and increasingly those who are mobile. Using natural language processing, voice recognition technology and other Einstein AI tidbits, Einstein Voice can translate voice memos into unstructured voice data, which is then used to update Salesforce records, notify team members and create tasks. The assistant also lets users surface data from within Salesforce using only voice commands, and will compile tailored readouts of key Salesforce metrics into a daily briefing on a smart speaker.


AI That Can Argue and Instruct

#artificialintelligence

Today's digital assistants can sometimes fool you into believing they are human, but vastly more capable digital helpers are on their way. Behind the scenes, Siri, Alexa and their ilk use sophisticated speech-recognition software to figure out what you are requesting and how to provide it, and they generate natural-sounding speech to deliver scripted answers matched to your questions. That work is time-consuming and results in digital assistants that are restricted in the tasks they can perform. The systems can "learn"--their machine-learning capabilities allow them to improve their matching of incoming questions to existing answers--but to a limited extent. Even so, they are extremely impressive.


Audi is adding Alexa to the E-Tron and other select models

Engadget

Audi is joining the growing list of automakers, including BMW and Toyota, choosing to add Alexa voice control to their vehicles. The company will integrate Amazon's voice assistant into select models in North America and Europe, starting in January 2019 and with the newly unveiled E-Tron electric SUV. Audi will load Alexa onto the selected vehicles' infotainment systems, so there's no need to dock your phones -- simply link your car to your Amazon account and then activate the assistant through the onboard voice control system. You'll then be able to ask Alexa to play music, read audiobooks, order groceries, tell you sports scores and to add items to your shopping lists while driving. Ned Curic, VP of Alexa Auto, says you'll also be able to ask Alexa to locate points of interest, as well as to control smart devices from your car.


Machine-learning system tackles speech and object recognition, all at once

MIT News

MIT computer scientists have developed a system that learns to identify objects within an image, based on a spoken description of the image. Given an image and an audio caption, the model will highlight in real-time the relevant regions of the image being described. Unlike current speech-recognition technologies, the model doesn't require manual transcriptions and annotations of the examples it's trained on. Instead, it learns words directly from recorded speech clips and objects in raw images, and associates them with one another. The model can currently recognize only several hundred different words and object types.


Amazon reportedly plans to roll out more Alexa-enabled hardware

ZDNet

Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa has a significant presence in consumers' homes, thanks to the robust ecosystem of developers and manufacturers who are incorporating Alexa into their devices. Now, Amazon plans to step up the momentum by producing more of its own Alexa-powered devices, according to a report. The Seattle-based tech giant plans to release at least eight new voice-controlled devices this year, according to CNBC, including a number of home gadgets. They include a microwave, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car device -- all of which will either have Alexa built in or will be Alexa-enabled. As CNBC notes, Amazon could drive sales of its in-home devices through partnerships with home-installation companies -- a strategy that Sonos has successfully used to bring its own Alexa-enabled speakers into homes.


Video Indexer – General availability and beyond

#artificialintelligence

Earlier today, we announced the general availability (GA) of Video Indexer. This means that our customers can count on all the metadata goodness of Video Indexer to always be available for them to use when running their business. However, this GA is not the only Video Indexer announcement we have for you. In the time since we released Video Indexer to public preview in May 2018, we never stopped innovating and added a wealth of new capabilities to make Video Indexer more insightful and effective for your video and audio needs. The Video Indexer portal already includes insights and timeline panes that enables our customers to easily review and evaluate media insights.


Google brings its AI song recognition to Sound Search

Engadget

Google's Now Playing song recognition was clever when it premiered late in 2017, but it had its limits. When it premiered on the Pixel 2, for instance, its on-device database could only recognize a relatively small number of songs. Now, however, that same technology is available in the cloud through Sound Search -- and it's considerably more useful if you're tracking down an obscure title. The system still uses a neural network to develop "fingerprints" identifying each song, and uses a combination of algorithms to both whittle down the list of candidates and study those results for a match. However, the scale and quality of that song matching is now much stronger.


BMW's autonomous concept car of the future was cool, I guess

Mashable

As I approached San Francisco International Airport, my expectations for BMW's new concept car were as big as the looming Boeing 777F Lufthansa cargo jet waiting for me. I had surrendered my cellphone and everything in my purse but my drivers license to see BMW's iNext vehicle. Its tour started in Munich a few days earlier; it came to the Bay Area after a stop at New York's JFK airport, and was scheduled to continue on to Beijing. SEE ALSO: BMW makes sure we can't escape voice assistants while driving After passing a final security check, I climbed up the rickety staircase with fellow media members and entered the cavernous aircraft. We had been told very little about what we were going to see, except it was not only the "car of the future" but the "idea of the future."


The Echo Plus and Philips Hue bulb are just $100 together today

PCWorld

One of the most popular smart speakers and one of the most popular smart bulbs are bundled up for one low price today--a great starter pack for any smart home. The Echo Plus and Philips Hue bulb combo costs $100Remove non-product link, a steep 39% discount from the $165 list price, and the cheapest this bundle has ever been. The Echo Plus offers all the smarts Alexa provides to other devices in the Echo lineup, so you'll be able do use your voice to control music, shop, check the weather and news, and more. But the Plus has a bonus: a built-in Zigbee hub, which means you can connect and control any compatible smart device all in one place. Additionally, a seven-microphone array provides far-field voice recognition so you can easily give commands even from across the room.


Scaling AI peaks one after another - USA - Chinadaily.com.cn

#artificialintelligence

On May 16, via a video link, US President Donald Trump "addressed" a conference in Tianjin from Washington and floored the audience with his almost flawless Chinese. Trump highlighted the big leaps made by artificial intelligence or AI, but what impressed the audience more was the US president's tone - his Chinese intonations, inflections and pitch were near perfect. Well, as it transpired, the voice was not really Trump's, after all, but that of an AI-enabled voice technology developed by iFlytek Co Ltd. And, for the record, unlike his granddaughter, Trump hardly knows any Chinese. The iFlytek technology demonstrated its speech synthesis capability - it can produce an unbelievably human-like voice.