Cisco to acquire AI startup MindMeld for $125 million


Cisco today announced plans to acquire AI startup MindMeld for $125 million. Cisco decided to acquire MindMeld, a company that's been called "Siri on steroids," because many bot experiences today are disappointing, IoT and applications VP Rowan Trollope wrote in a blog post today. "Bringing the MindMeld team to Cisco is a giant leap forward in helping our customers experience the next generation of interactive, conversational interfaces." Cisco collaboration software competition includes other enterprise chat players including Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts Chat, and Slack.

The bot invasion is on, powered by $24B in funding


While the manufacturing sector is increasingly using physical robots to improve industrial processes, the market for virtual bots or "chatbots" is also gaining serious traction in the space where humans and computers interact. Bots are essentially software technologies that automate tasks and enable effective human-computer interactions. Bots are increasingly taking over customer service operations in businesses around the globe, while technology giants like Microsoft, Google and Facebook are getting in on the game with their own bot platforms. And the bot market is starting to attract big bucks too. Recent figures indicate that 180 bot-related companies have attracted $24 billion in funding to date, with hundreds of other bot companies vying for investor dollars.

TP-Link Integrates Smart Products With Google Assistant On Google Home, Pixel

International Business Times

TP-Link has announced that its slew of smart home products now have support for Google's intelligent assistant Google Assistant. Hence, consumers may now control their TP-Link smart devices using Google Home and the Pixel handsets as these come with Google Assistant. Among the many home products of TP-Link, the company pointed out that the TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Bulbs, Smart Wi-Fi Switches and the Smart Plugs are now controllable using voice commands for Google Assistant. The smart light bulbs respond to certain commands like switching on and off and decreasing or increasing the brightness of the light. For bulbs that have color options, users may switch from one color to another using voice commands as well.

Google Assistant takes a giant leap toward whole-house control


Google announced today that even more smart home devices would now be compatible with Assistant. The Assistant, accessible from the Google Home hub and Android phones, is integral to Google's expansion into the Internet of Things: Today, we're introducing new home automation integrations--in addition to the ones that already exist--that work with the Google Assistant. So you can now connect your Google Assistant to Best Buy Insignia, LIFX, TP-Link and Wink. TNW Conference won best European Event 2016 for our festival vibe. See what's in store for 2017.

New Google Home partnerships expand the smart speaker's footprint in the smart home


Vivint Sky and Wink Hub owners who want to use voice commands to control their lighting, thermostats, and other subsystems will soon no longer be limited to deploying Amazon Echos--both companies announced today that their systems will soon be compatible with Google Assistant, too. Both companies already work with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, but neither wants to be limited to a single platform. "Obviously there's more than one option for homeowners who want to have voice services in the house," said Vivint Smart Home Chief Technology Office Jeremy Warren. "We want to make sure we're providing a great user experience for our customers regardless of which platform they adopt." Google announced 11 other new partnerships as well, ranging from Logitech Harmony, to August smart locks, to the Anova sous-vide cooker.

Google Assistant Is Coming To Android Phones As Early As This Week


Google announced today that Google Assistant will start rolling out to devices running Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and 7.0 (Nougat) later this week. Previously, the Assistant was only available on Google's Pixel phones, Home personal assistant, Allo messaging app and Android wear devices. Google is at the forefront of machine and deep-learning based natural language processing which they have used to power their vaunted speech recognition system. Google Assistant leverages this research to enable two-way, context-sensitive, conversational interactions between the user and the device. The Assistant syncs across devices and apps like Allo and Google Calendar and it allows voice-control of enabled smart-home devices.

Telenor Research on 2017 tech trends: The year of AI and social fatigue?


Telenor Group's Research arm today publishes the key global Tech Trends identified for the coming year. The search to digitize activities in our daily lives and in business will only accelerate now that technological platforms are maturing and moving into test mode. "Last year we highlighted several important developing trends and predicted that these would gain speed and attention during the year. IoT is on our list again for 2017, but we also claim that social media fatigue could be starting to appear, that chatbots are hot, that 5G will show itself in demos and pilot installations long before the standard is ready, and that the ethics of AI will be a hot topic," says Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research. The trends were identified through observations, patterns and supporting data from the continuous research conducted by Telenor's scientists in select expert fields.

Microsoft chatbot held a mirror up to Twitter, and the reflection wasn't pretty

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Tay wasn't meant to be racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive. But as an artificial intelligence program that Microsoft designed to chat like a teenage girl, it was quick to learn from whatever it was told. So it came as little surprise when Tay started to make sympathetic references to Hitler – and created a firestorm on social media – soon after its release on Wednesday. The uproar led Microsoft to suspend the chatbot in just a few hours. "Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay's commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways," the company said in a statement.

Siri's Voice Can Be Heard In Nuance's Guidance

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The brightest light in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) quarterly earnings report came from sales of its iPhone 4S, whose most defining feature is the voice recognition assistant Siri. The phone's eye popping growth, particularly in Asia where it launched in January, was likely behind Nuance's (NASDAQ:NUAN) upside guidance issued on April 26th. Of course, consumer sales to OEMs like Apple still account for less revenue than Nuance's healthcare division, which is riding a wave higher in medical transcription. But, voice driven consumer electronics are increasingly important to Nuance's growth story. Following the launch of the 4S last fall, phones at Nuance were likely lit up by manufacturers looking to close the gap with Apple.

Artificial Intelligence to Promote Feature Film 'Flatland'

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 16, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- You're an independent filmmaker. You don't have a big Hollywood marketing budget. How do you market your film? "Flatland was a different kind of film; strange, intellectual, bizarre," said Ladd Ehlinger Jr., director of the animated feature. "So I wanted something different to promote it."