Amazon is reportedly working on a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that would allow for individual voice recognition, according to a report from Time. In other words, your Echo would theoretically be able to tell voices apart and figure out who is actually talking to it. According to Time, the feature is internally known as "Voice ID" and has been in development since summer 2015. The report claims that Voice ID would allow certain commands to be locked to a specific voice -- for example, only allowing the account holder to purchase things off Amazon (something that's certainly been an issue in the past). Alexa actually already supports multiple user profiles and PIN verification for purchases, but automating the process through voice recognition would certainly make it easier to take advantage of those features.
Today's speech recognition technologies are largely tied up in a few products: think Amazon's Alexa and Google's own assistant. These major voice assistants are driven by commercial interests and only serve the majority languages, mainly English. "Most speech databases are trained with an overrepresentation of certain demographics which results in a bias towards male and white and middle class," Davis added. "Accents and dialects that tend to be under-represented in training datasets.
The ethical use of voice technologies, such as speech and voice recognition, is becoming more important every day. Devices such as smart speakers, smartphones or smartwatches collect massive amounts of data from users thanks to the wide range of activities they allow (e.g., asking questions, setting reminders, checking bank accounts, accessing calendars, etc.). This data, as you might imagine, is often personal or private by nature. Companies offering services through these gadgets now have to assure not only a legal processing of user's data but also an ethical one. The above issue is not the only one that concerns ethics.
Powerful technologies are fusing in the contact center with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and voice recognition being the focal point in several research, investment, and news services. While it offers great promises in terms of the results they render, the pieces are yet to link together. "Although there is a popular conception among the public that AI just involves someone chatting over a voice assistant, there exists a lot of machine learning and artificial intelligence behind it, in terms of data analysis," says Omar Javaid, Chief Product Officer of Vonage. Javaid says that a conversation with AI can lead to angry calls, frustration, satisfaction, and other customer reactions. Similarly, it would also entail the capability to tailor human and vocal responses.
Samsung Electronics and chat giant Kakao will cooperate on AI and voice recognition, the companies have announced. The two South Korean firms will sync Bixby and Kakao I, their respective AI platforms, and will work closely together to expand South Korea's AI ecosystem, they said. Samsung will offer Bixby users Kakao I-based content and lifestyle services. Kakao I users, in turn, will be able to use Bixby's voice command to activate their services. The two companies will showcase services and products that combine the two platforms later this year.