Amazon Echo devices are primarily thought of as consumer devices for the home, but the cloud enterprise resource planning company Financial force has developed a new way to make the voice-activated assistant Alexa useful for work. FinancialForce, which runs entirely on Saleforce's platform, demo'd its new ERP intelligent assistant at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week. FinancialForce customers can use Alexa to do things like to check the status of deliverables, run reports and respond to business information through simple voice commands. They can also build their own use cases without having to code anything, FinancialForce CTO Andy Fawcett explained. "I got away with writing a very small amount of code," he explained at Dreamforce -- specifically, just over 130 lines of NodeJS code.
PayPal is adding an integration with Siri to let its users conduct peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions with a simple voice command, the financial services company announced Thursday. The integration with Apple's voice-activated assistant comes just ahead of PayPal's busy holiday season. The company predicts that it will see more than 17 million P2P transactions this December. Last year, $41 billion traded hands through P2P transactions on PayPal and its other payment platforms, Venmo and Xoom. The integration is available in 30 countries and in several languages including English, French, Dutch, Finnish, Cantonese, Hebrew, Malay, Arabic, German and Italian.
Two chief executives of major messaging apps in India and South Korea predicted a decline in the importance of texting via keyboards and a rise in the use of cameras and voice activation to communicate. Speaking at The Wall Street Journal's D.Live Asia conference, Kakao Corp. Chief Executive Rim Ji-hoon said the South Korean firm would roll out voice-activated artificial intelligence services in the third quarter of this year.
Technology promises a future that isn't tied down by the limitations of flesh. Communication travels further and faster than legs can run, and data beamed into space will live longer than any of its creators. Devices that respond to our voices make hands less necessary. But the digital assistants many of us rely on inadvertently perpetuate the old restrictions of the human form. If Siri has no body, why does she sound like a woman?