TL;DR Baidu's TTS system now supports multi-speaker conditioning, and can learn new speakers with very little data (a la LyreBird). I'm really excited about the recent influx of neural-net TTS systems, but all of the them seem to be too slow for real time dialog, or not publicly available, or both. Hoping that one of them gets a high quality open-source implementation soon!
Amazon has finally added its chatty personal assistant, Alexa, to its music app. The change isn't simply a feature update but an entirely new way of requesting music from your phone, Amazon said. Now people can ask for specific tracks or artists simply by shouting at their phone. But they can also ask for more complicated things: requesting that the phone play them an automatically generated playlist of "happy 80s pop songs", for instance – which the app will then create. Alexa is already well known for her appearance in Amazon's collection of Echo smart speakers, which can play music simply by shouting at them.
Voice-activated assistants are playing an increasingly prominent role in the technology world, with Apple's introduction of Siri for the iPhone 4S and Google's (rumored) work on a Siri competitor for Android phones. Voice-activated technology isn't new--it's just getting better because of increasingly powerful processors and cloud services, advancements in natural language processing, and improved algorithms for recognizing voice. We spoke with Nuance Communications, maker of Dragon software and one of the biggest names in voice recognition technologies, about why voice is becoming more popular and what advancements we can expect in the future. Peter Mahoney, Nuance chief marketing officer and general manager of the Dragon desktop business, told Ars one of the most significant improvements coming in the next few years is a far more conversational voice-activated assistant that remembers everything you say. This should create better responses to casual questions.
If you haven't already put your CD sleeves in the closet, now's the time. Streaming services offer more music and far better tools to find and play it. You can use a voice assistant to search for songs or tune into playlists created specifically to match your tastes. You can discover a giant world of music you might never have found, even browsing the best record store. Which streaming service should you use, though?
Facebook has proudly announced that Google's Android Auto now has for its Messenger app. What this basically means is people can now engage in conversations while driving. Facebook has also ensured that Messenger conversations via Android Auto are safe and wouldn't require drivers to take their eyes off the road. Facebook announced the new update via its Messenger page on its website on Tuesday. The Menlo Park social media giant recognized in its post that Android Auto has been providing drivers with a means to easily access mobile apps.