This week about 180,000 visitors flocked to the world's biggest technology exhibition, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And while all the usual gadgets made an appearance, from smart fridges to self-driving cars, there was one dominant theme: speech. With nearly half of people in the US using voice-activated digital assistants in their smartphones or tablets, and the ownership of standalone digital assistants, like Google Home and Amazon Echo, expected to double in 2018, every tech company now wants a slice of the pie. Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, is now available in everything from microwaves to cars, and from TVs to mirrors. Google had more than 350 voice-controlled devices at the show, including speakers, cars, and a giant toy town complete with a railway.
Artificial intelligence: Since the term was first coined in 1955 by the late Stanford computer scientist John McCarthy, AI has steadily moved out of the realm of science fiction and now has significant impact on our everyday lives. Related: Is Artificial Intelligence Replacing Your Intelligence? Voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant utilize voice recognition to transform the way we search for information and interact with our devices. Innovations such as self-driving cars and wearable tech are positioned to transform transportation and healthcare in the foreseeable future. The Harvard Business Review has predicted that AI will affect the economy and our lives on a magnitude similar to that of the steam engine, electricity and the industrial combustion engine.
Alexa, Amazon's all-knowing and doing voice assistant can now help people vacuum, thanks to a partnership between the Seattle-based retail giant and iRobot, a maker of consumer robots. Bedford, Mass.-based iRobot announced updates for the iRobot HOME App on both iOS and Android to continue integrating its line of Roomba-connected vacuums to the smart home, integrating Amazon Alexa and its voice control into the app. "iRobot is aggressively pursuing opportunities within the connected home to improve our customers' experience with our cleaning robots," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot in a statement. In addition to adding voice control, the HOME App is getting new Clean Map reports that provide details about cleaning performance, including what part of the floor is the dirtiest, how much space was cleaned, time taken and more. Inside the iRobot HOME App, customers can start, stop and pause a cleaning job, using just their voice.
The Kit originally came with a copy of the Raspberry Pi Magazine. Google is working on more artificial intelligence projects to follow its Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi. Four ways to explore the use of voice technology for your business. Google's AIY Voice Kit is a do-it-yourself voice-recognition kit for Raspberry Pi-based maker projects. The initial run of the kits sold out in a few hours, but Google said more will be available for purchase in stores and online in the US in the coming weeks, and the kit will be available elsewhere by the end of the year.
Google is working on some nifty new features for Google Maps, including a short list of your favorite places, the possibility of a'virtual positioning system' and more. Assistant is coming to Google Maps in a big way, with a ton of new shortcuts, as well as the ability for the digital assistant to text your friend when you're on your way. Google is rolling out a tool called'Your Match', which uses machine learning to determine your location and interests, serving up targeted suggestions for new businesses opening up in your area and more.