If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Amazon Alexa is now available in Canada. Amazon announced today that its intelligent personal assistant is moving north for the holidays, along with three of the devices it powers: Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot. Canada is the third country to receive Alexa -- it was previously only available in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. Canadian users will get a tailor-made experience. Canadian Alexa is equipped with a Canadian accent, local knowledge, and functionality from Canadian developers.
Google announced today that its virtual assistant will now support two new languages -- Spanish for users in the US, Mexico and Spain as well as Italian for those in Italy. These languages will be rolling out over the next few weeks, according to Google, and while initially they'll only be available for Android, the company says iPhone support will be released later this year. With these additions, Google Assistant now supports a total of eight languages -- including English, Portuguese, French, German, Japanese and Korean -- in 12 countries around the world. While that puts Google's virtual assistant in line with Microsoft's Cortana, which also supports eight languages, ahead of Amazon's Alexa, which only supports German and a few versions of English, and ahead of Samsung's Bixby, which supports just English and Korean, it's still well behind Apple's Siri. Apple's assistant currently supports 20 languages -- quite a few more than any of its counterparts.
The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced the launch of its voice-activated Talk to NAB offering, allowing customers to ask basic banking questions such as how to replace a lost card or reset their password. In order to use the Talk to NAB function, customers will require a Google Home device or the Google Assistant on a compatible smartphone, as well as a data connection. "Whilst at the moment you can talk to it, chat with it online, we'd love for you to be able to use your voice to activate it, to ask it questions, as our business customers are driving around," NAB executive general manager of business transformation Anne Bennett said at the time. For the first half of the 2017 financial year, NAB reported AU$2.55 billion in after-tax profit -- a 246.1 percent turnaround from the AU$1.74 billion loss reported last year.
Amazon has been on quite an expansion push with its smart home speaker line recently, but now it's clear that they're increasing more than just the number of Echo devices on the market. The company announced today that Echo and Alexa are now available in India by invitation only, and they'll expand to Japan later this year. According to Tom Taylor, the SVP of Amazon Alexa, the company will also open the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service in order to allow developers to create customized software for Indian and Japanese customers. This expansion marks the first foray into Asia for the Echo, a necessary step for Amazon to compete in the smart home speaker market.
But when Sonos started working on integrating Alexa into its multi-room wireless music system a year and a half ago, though, that setup posed a problem. Alongside the new speaker, Sonos also announced today that by 2018 it will support both Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, allowing Sonos users to query Google, use Siri to control their speakers, and to stream tracks from their iPhones. Sonos could have built an Alexa skill to let you control volume, change songs, and hear everything through your Sonos speakers. And so while Sonos improved its speakers, Amazon worked on making Alexa an even better DJ.
If you hadn't noticed, Amazon introduced a lot of devices at its Alexa-themed event -- so many that keeping tabs on them all could be a challenge in itself. Thankfully, you don't have to sweat it. We've rounded up all the new Alexa-powered hardware in one place, ranging from the next generation of the standard Echo speaker to the Fire TV and the cute-as-a-button Echo Spot. If you've been thinking of snagging Amazon gear going into the holidays, you'll hopefully have a better sense of what's on offer.
BCS Technology, a Global IT company headquartered in Australia providing end to end solutions in big data and analytics, announced the launch of their chatbot solution -- Interactive Social Airline Automated Companion (ISAAC) built on Cloudera's modern platform for machine learning and analytics optimized for the cloud -- Cloudera Enterprise. The solution combines the use of modern big data analytics technologies and natural language processing (NLP) by leveraging Microsoft's LUIS framework and the Cloudera Enterprise platform. "With Cloudera's machine learning and advanced analytics technology at the core of ISAAC, businesses can now use data to gain valuable insights, make accurate business decisions faster and deliver better products and services to enhance their customers' experiences. With the exponential growth of BCS and big data, a new subsidiary named ML Labs has formed, specialising in providing machine learning and deep learning algorithm solutions to clients looking to begin their journey through big data and analytics.
Apple announced today that it is switching from Bing to Google as the Web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac. Apple officials did say they will continue to use Bing Web image search results in Siri, noted TechCrunch, citing an Apple statement sent to the outlet. In 2013, Microsoft and Apple struck a deal to make Bing the backup Web search engine in Siri. In 2014, Microsoft and Apple struck a related deal to make Bing the default Web search engine for Spotlight on the Mac and iOS 8.
This press release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about Amdocs' growth and business results in future quarters. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause future results to differ from those anticipated. These risks include, but are not limited to, the effects of general economic conditions, Amdocs' ability to grow in the business markets that it serves, Amdocs' ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses, adverse effects of market competition, rapid technological shifts that may render the Company's products and services obsolete, potential loss of a major customer, our ability to develop long-term relationships with our customers, and risks associated with operating businesses in the international market. These and other risks are discussed at greater length in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016 filed on December 12, 2016 and our quarterly 6-K form furnished on February 13, May 22 and August 14, 2017.